Santa Lucia Day celebration

21 12 2021

What a beautiful day it was. We all came together to celebrate Saint Lucia, the Sicilian maiden who gave her life for her faith and became a saint. Saint Lucia was helping the Christians hiding in the catacombs during the terror under the Roman empire. In order to bring with her as many supplies as possible, she needed to have both hands free. She solved this problem by attaching candles to a wreath on her head.

Saint Lucia came to Sweden in the late 1700’s to bring light and feed the poor in the cold winter darkness of December 13. In 1929 the first Lucia celebration was held in Stockholm, Sweden, and has since developed to be one of the most important traditions there.

The 2021 Lucia celebration at the Whitnall Park Lutheran Church in Hales Corners Wisconsin was attended by over 150 people.

The celebration began with children and the young adults from the area performing the Lucia program in the church sanctuary under the direction of Sonia Hummel.

As the saint Lucia did in the 4th century the SAHSWI Lucia Grace Katsekes was wearing a wreath with live candles while the procession was singing the beautiful Lucia song and Swedish carols and reading poetry, a poem for each candle in the Lucia crown.

The story of Lucia was told by member, and Linde Lodge President Liza Ekstrand. She introduced Lucia and each reader of the candle poems;

The Lucia procession include Lucia and her Attendants (Tärnor), the Star Boys (Stjärngossar), the Gingerbread men (Pepparkaksgubbar) and the little Santas (Tomtar)

Following the Lucia program, a Swedish Christmas Smorgasbord (Julbord) was served including food and pastries all donated by SAHSWI members and people attending the celebration. The children now changed into Swedish traditional costumes and performed folkdances around the Christmas Tree (Julgran). Soon they were joined by others.

As the dance around the Julgran continued, all of a sudden Jultomten (Santa) appeared to the great joy of the children. He handed out candy canes and little jingle bells adding to the festive atmosphere.

Another Lucia day in Wisconsin was coming to an end. How rewarding it was to see the children’s smiles. After two years of “social distancing” everybody could come together and celebrate the old fashioned way. A sigh of relief from the organizers, after a few weeks of preparation, it all turned out to be a great Lucia Day here in Wisconsin.


  • to Sonia Hummel, the participants in the Lucia program and everyone helping out
  • to everyone helping to organize, providing the printed program and song sheets, get all the supplies, setting up and serving the food, and later cleaning up, doing the dishes, etc.
  • to everyone bringing and donating the food
  • to Santa for coming and bringing more joy to the children
  • to everyone that attended the 2021 SAHSWI Lucia Day Celebration

For many Swedes the Lucia Day marks the beginning of the Christmas season. From all of us at the Swedish American Historical Society of Wisconsin we wish you

Illustration “Gnomes” Swedish Christmas by Lars Carlsson