Supporting our *SMSC curriculum, let's celebrate 'St. Lucia Day' with our partner school in Sweden!! - 13 December 2012
Our St. Lucia Day Events
On December 13th each year, Christmas begins early in Sweden with the annual celebration of St. Lucia day. Today at Peterbrook, while the majority of the school were busily preparing for Christmas or performing their Christmas productions to parents, Nursery and Reception were holding their own St. Lucia day celebrations.
Having been a partner school of Peterbrook since 2010, Ulriksberg school (Ulriksbergskolan) in Vaxjo, has been in contact regularly, exchanging photographs of their children as well as cards and pieces of work.
This year we decided that as well as exchanging festive messages, it would be a wonderful idea if Nursery and Reception held their own St. Lucia parade – and what an exciting day they had!
Dating back hundreds of years, the tradition of St. Lucia is hugely important in Sweden. Modern day celebrations include most Swedish cities holding a public procession which involves singing, the handing out of gingerbread (yummy!) and appointing a female ‘Lucia’. For more information on this day, see the link (http://www.newsweden.org/luciahistory.htm)
Today in our Early Years Foundation Stage (3-5 year-olds) the children were told the story of St Lucia. They were enthusiastic about holding their own procession but had to make their own clothing – and what a lot of fun they had doing so! The girls represented St. Lucia by wearing crowns while the boys followed the modern Swedish tradition of wearing tall pointed hats.
Following this successful day, enjoyed by all the children, ‘St.Lucia Day’ will now be an annual celebration at Peterbrook, forming part of our developing International Curriculum. Our youngest pupils began their journey to becoming an international citizen today – well done everyone!!
Christmas in Sweden
St. Lucia's Day in Sweden today is celebrated by a girl dressing in a white dress with a red sash round her waist and a crown of candles on her head. Small children use electric candles but from about 12 years old, real candles are used! The crown is made of Lingonberry branches which are evergreen and symbolise new life in winter. Schools normally have their own St. Lucia's and some town and villages also choose a girl to play St. Lucia in a procession where carols are sung.
A national Lucia is also chosen. Lucias also visit hospitals and old people's homes singing a song about St. Lucia and handing out 'Pepparkakor', ginger snap biscuits. Small children sometimes like dressing up as Lucia; boys might dress up as 'Stjärngossar' (star boys) and girls might be 'tärnor' (like Lucia but without the candles).
St. Lucia's Day is also celebrated in Denmark, Norway, Finland, Bosnia, and Croatia. Also in some parts of Italy, children are told that St Lucy brings them presents. They leave out a sandwich for her and the donkey that helps carry the gifts!
Christmas Eve is also very important in Sweden. This is when the main meal is eaten. This is often a 'julbord' which is a buffet, eaten at lunchtime. Cold fish is important on the julbord. There is often herring (served in many different ways), gravlax (salmon which has been cured in sugar, salt and dill) and smoked salmon. Other dishes on the julbord might include cold meats including turkey, roast beef and 'julskinka' (a Christmas ham); cheeses, liver pate, salads, pickles and different types of bread and butter (or mayonnaise). The desert of the julbord might be a selection of sweet pastries, some more pepparkakor biscuits and some home made sweets!
In Sweden presents are normally exchanged on Christmas Eve. People often go to Church early on Christmas morning. Families sometimes have goats made of straw in the house to guard the Christmas Tree! Straw is used as a decoration in homes, to remind them that Jesus was born in a manger. Christmas Tree decorations that are made of straw are also very popular.
Peterbrook Primary School, High Street, Solihull Lodge, Shirley, Solihull, West Midlands, B90 1HR
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