It is comforting to know there are still Christmas celebrations taking place that honor timeless traditions.
The Tegner Lodge 109 in Scotia, a group of about 50 people of Swedish and Scandinavian heritage, will celebrate St. Lucia's Day in true Scandinavian fashion.
Along with the St. Lucia procession, which consists of young boys and girls singing songs in Swedish costumes around the Christmas tree, the Tegner Lodge's Sunday, Dec. 9, celebration will include traditional Swedish foods, folklore and music.
Ingrid Frank, a member of the lodge's board, said that St. Lucia is the festival of lights, which marks the darkest day of the year, Dec. 13. She said that while the St. Lucia celebration originated in Sicily, Italy, it is a custom that known to most Europeans.
Typically, one young woman is chosen to portray St. Lucia, and wears a wreath of candles on her head light on the longest night of the year. Other girls carry single candles, and boys wear cone-shaped hats and carry stars on sticks in the procession
Frank said the Swedish celebration includes delicacies like rice pudding, ginger snaps, saffron buns, Swedish Christmas cookies and Glogg," a Swedish beverage. Swedish meatballs are, of course, on the menu, as well as scalloped potatoes with anchovies, herring and potatoes.
"We will eat, dance, sing and have a gift exchange, but the meaning behind the celebration is to celebrate what Christmas is all about, friends and family of course," said Frank.
Frank said the Swedish Lodge has been a second home to her since moving from Sweden to America. She said while she still gets homesick, the Tegner Lodge has helped her keep her culture part of her American life.
"It's just so nice to be able to sit and talk with people who share my traditions and memories," said Frank.