Lucia Fest Dec. 2 at Erlander Home

Swedes and non-Swedes alike are invited to participate in this year’s Lucia Fest and Julmarknad Saturday, Dec. 2, at the Erlander Home Museum (404 S. Third St.) and First Lutheran Church just one block away (225 S. Third St.) in historic Haight Village in Rockford.

The Fest celebrates all things Swedish, and includes wonderful home-baked bread and cookies, great gifts, and a candlelight Lucia program at the historic First Lutheran Church.

Events are as follow:

Guided tours of Erlander Home Museum will be from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Adults are $5, seniors $3, children ages 3 to 17 $2, and families of two adults with children are $15.

Kaffe Stuga (Coffee House) with coffee, pastries and cookies will be from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at First Lutheran Church. Donations will be accepted as admission.

Julmarknad (Holiday Market), selling fresh, home-baked cookies, Swedish gifts (handicrafts, paper goods, decorations) and Swedish foods (yellow peas, cheeses, hardtack, herring, sausage, lingonberries, glugg fruits, baked goods), will be from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at First Lutheran Church. Admission to the Julmarknad is free.

Lunch of Swedish meatballs and gravy, boiled potatoes with dill, lingonberries and limpa rye bread will be from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. Lunch is $5 in advance or $6 at Lucia Fest.

Lucia Program with special guest Anna Lena Engstrom and the youth of the Swedish Historical Society in a candlelight ceremony will be at 1 p.m. at First Lutheran Church. Donations will be accepted as admission.

Early Italian missionaries brought Lucia Fest to Sweden. The celebration honors St. Lucia, who carried food to Christians hiding in Rome’s dark catacombs; she wore a wreath of candles on her head to light the way. The Swedes embraced the “Queen of Light” tradition as an antidote to their long, dark winters.

Today, Lucia Fest kicks off Sweden’s holiday season, with food, music and friendship. In homes, the eldest daughter rises early, dresses in white with a red sash, and wears a wreath of candles on her head. She serves coffee, saffron buns and gingerbread cookies to her parents. Her siblings accompany her and sing traditional carols.

Info: Contact Leah Nelson at the Swedish Historical Society of Rockford at 963-5559.

From the Nov. 29 – Dec. 5, 2006, issue

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