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Local Scandinavian Children’s Club to Present Santa Lucia Pageant on Dec. 8

Diane Klaif, The Alternative Press

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 • 5:35pm

The Dalarna-Blåklockan Scandinavian Children’s Club will be celebrating the holiday season at their annual Santa Lucia Christmas Pageant on Sunday, December 8 at the New Providence Senior Center, 15 East Fourth Street, New Providence, NJ at 2:00 pm (doors open at 1:30 pm).
Santa Lucia Day is a very special day in the hearts of many Scandinavians.  On this day, the darkness is brightened by a young maiden of goodness and light who opens the door to the Christmas season.

In honor of the Santa Lucia legend, each year, the Dalarna-Blåklockan club celebrates the day by presenting a Christmas pageant and inviting the public and members of the Lodge Linne #429 of the Vasa Order of America to attend.  According to the legend, Lucia was a medieval saint who carried food and drink to hungry folk in the province of Varmland in Sweden during a period of famine.  She was seen on a ship crossing Lake Vanern in a white gown wearing a crown of lights, and appeared on the shortest and darkest day of the year, December 13.

The Lucia celebration is a custom still carried out in Sweden and Norway.  In the early morning of December 13, a girl in a white dress with a red sash, wearing a crown made of ligonberry twigs and candles, carries a tray of saffron buns and steaming coffee to wake up her parents.

This year’s Lucia will be Hanna Neil, a resident of Morristown and 8th grade student at Frelinghuysen Middle School.  She is Swedish on her maternal side and is the daughter of Erica Johansson-Neil and George Neil.  She has spent parts of her summers in Sweden since she was five, and thoroughly enjoys the country, its culture, and language.  She enjoys music, dancing, and singing and has been a member of the Dalarna-Blåklockan Children’s Club for the past eight years.

During the pageant, Lucia will lead a procession of maidens along with other children dressed as Star Boys, Baker Lads and Tomtar (elf-like creatures of Scandinavian folklore).  They will sing traditional Lucia and Christmas songs that celebrate this special time of year.  Following the pageant, refreshments will be served and some of the children will also perform Scandinavian folk dances.

“Presently, the boys and girls in our club have ties to a variety of Scandinavian countries – Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland.  The purpose of the club is to bring the children together and learn about their heritage in a fun and inviting way.  We keep some of the traditions alive by performing a Lucia pageant each December and learning traditional country folk dances,” stated Erica Johansson-Neil, coordinator of the Dalarna-Blåklockan Children’s Club.  For more information on the club, please call 862-812-0095 or email ericajohansson@optimum.net.

VASA Order of American is a fraternal society that was originally established for the benefit of Swedish immigrants a century ago, and is now dedicated to preserving and sharing all Nordic cultures and heritages.  Membership is open to men and women over 14 years of age of Nordic roots (Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Icelandic and Norwegian) who would like to rediscover the traditions of their forefathers, as well as those who are not of Nordic heritage, but are interested in the promotion and advancement of Nordic heritages and cultures.  For more information on Lodge Linne, visit www.vasaorder.net/?lodge=429 or email dansker331@verizon.net.  Lodge Linne meets monthly on the third Friday, except in the summer, for general membership meetings and a cultural program at the New Providence Senior Center, 15 East Fourth Street.

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