PRINCETON — A time-honored Swedish tradition continues with the annual St. Lucia Festival on Dec. 8 at the Evangelical Covenant Church, 24 N. Main St. in Princeton. The annual breakfast, sponsored the Women’s Ministry, will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the vestry of the church.
Aubrey Smith will portray Saint Lucia, dressed in a long white gown tied by a simple red satin ribbon with a wreath of greenery and lighted candles on her head. Lexi Marselle and Zia Kimberley will serve as Lucia’s attendants during the breakfast.
The St. Lucia breakfast and Festival of Light is Swedish tradition celebrated in the Covenant Church. The legend of St. Lucia tells how she was martyred for her faith, bringing food and light to Sweden during the winter famine. According to legend, Lucia was the daughter of a wealthy Sicilian family who refused a marriage, arranged by her family, to a non-Christian boy. The boy, who also came from a wealthy family, was insulted by her refusal of marriage and became instrumental in Lucia’s persecution.
The crown of candles, worn by the person who portrays Lucia, symbolizes the fire used to try to burn her to death, as well as the light she carried to light her way as she ministered to the poor. The red sash is a symbol of the dagger wounds that eventually caused her death. Although she was Catholic, after the Reformation, the Lutherans embraced her in their faith; to the people, the name Lucia means “bringer of light.” To this day, every school, city, town and choir in Sweden has a Lucia pageant. They sing songs, quote scripture verses and travel to work places and hospitals to hand out cookies or rolls.
The St. Lucia Festival has been an annual event at the Evangelical Covenant Church since 1975 and is a favorite Christmas season event of the church. The public is invited to attend. The breakfast will be served by women of the church dressed in traditional Swedish costumes. The menu will include the traditional egg casserole with Swedish fruit soup, breads, beverage and Christmas cookie. Entertainment this year features Gwen Holmes and Katie Bates.
Limited tickets are available and reserved seating is required. Tickets are $8 per person and must be paid for and picked up by Dec. 7. Reservations can be made by calling Joan Eggers at 815-875-2168. A bake/craft sale will begin at 9 a.m. in the Happy Hands Preschool room and will continue after the program.