Imagine early morning before sunrise when all is dark. All of a sudden, there is a faint singing in the distance and the doorway is lit up by a woman in a long white gown, wearing a wreath with candles on her head. Lucia, her maidens, and the “star boys” follow and bring light, joyful singing, coffee and sweet saffron rolls.

Saffron Rolls (in a re-purposed Polarn O. Pyret hat that had too many memories of my twins as toddlers to get rid of.

Christmas and the advent weeks is when we feel the most homesick, but we are lucky to live in Chicago, where the Swedish community is big enough for my kids to participate in one of the many Lucia celebrations. Today, the Chicago Lucia will be at Daley Plaza at 11:30 and in Andersonville, the Swedish neighborhood, in the evening. (See the Swedish American Museum for event details.) We had the pleasure of seeing and hearing three Lucia processions a couple of weekends ago at the Swedish American Museum Christmas Market where we had a funflector booth. It was a joy to see my 10-year old twins as “tärna” (maid) and “stjärngosse” (star boy) and my 13-year-old as Lucia with all their friends from Swedish School. It felt like being back in Sweden with the right music, food and ambiance – and parents taking pictures.

Lucia celebration by the Swedish School in Chicago

The older girls and the Lucia get real candles. They are very focused on standing still…

Photo op in better light and a better view of the “star boys”.

This amusing but fairly true video has gone around among Swedish expats on facebook the last few days. Enjoy!

Author Bio
Elisabeth Hubbard launched funflector®, her own brand of fun and colorful pedestrian reflectors after she moved here from Sweden.  Her family of five loves to walk to their local library and cosy downtown, also after dusk, and no one here seemed to have thought about fun safety reflectors hanging on jackets, backpacks and purses. In addition to designing and selling funflectors, she also blogs about design, traffic safety and observations on differences between American and northern European cultures at “the glimling blog”.  Her grade school twins and middle school daughter were all born in Sweden. Elisabeth and her American husband work hard at making sure the family keeps both the American and Swedish (and some German) heritage alive.