LINDSBORG — On Dec. 9, Lindsborg will celebrate the legend of Santa Lucia with a day of festivities and events.

“Christmastime is kind of a magical season in Lindsborg to begin with, and the Lucia Festival really adds to that with the music and the excitement of the young school children and the high school-age Swedish folk dancers. They bring an element to it that keeps it fresh every year,” said Holly Lofton, director of the Lindsborg Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

Also known as Saint Lucy’s Day, this annual Christian festival commemorates Saint Lucy, or Santa Lucia, a third-century martyr who, according to legend, brought food and aid to hiding Christians using a candle-lit wreath on her head to light the way.

“The crown has been used since the 1960s. It was made by a metalsmith in Lindsborg for his daughter, who was the first Lucia. We’ve handed that down every year, so it has that beautiful tradition to it, and yet we have a new Lucia every year,” Lofton said. “She’s chosen by pulling a name out of a hat of senior girls and it’s a very special honor. It’s a beautiful, beautiful time.”

It’s a celebration Lindsborg has honored for years, in part because of its Swedish heritage. In the past, the festival was celebrated on the Winter Solstice as a celebration of light.

“Lucia is memorably beautiful. We have people who come from a long distance away to experience it and it’s memorable enough that many of them come again,” Lofton said. “We have families who have a rite of passage almost with their children when their old enough. The parents will bring them because they had a memory of doing that as a child themselves and they want their kids to have that experience and be old enough to really appreciate it and remember it.”

The festivities begin at 10 a.m. with live holiday music downtown. At 10:45 a.m., a processional of girls in white carrying candles and stjärngosse (star boys) lead the crowd to the Bethany Lutheran Church where the annual St. Lucia is crowned and then goes among the crowd serving ginger cookies and coffee. This year’s St. Lucia is Morgan VanDerWege.

“While we start downtown, the procession leads to Bethany Lutheran Church. If you were to travel to Sweden, a Lutheran church would look very similar to this. So while you see this beautiful church, you also get to see the works of some amazing Lindsborg artists inside the church. Two of Sandzen’s murals are at the front of the church, the woodwork was crafted by local craftsmen over 100 years ago,” Lofton said. “There are some beautiful traditions here that are kept fresh with young people who are making memories for themselves and others.”

Schedule of

activities

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Star Boy and Lucia crafts and Jan Brett story time at the Lindsborg Community Library

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Lindsborg Swedish Folk Dancer bake sale at Turner Photography. Proceeds benefit TACOL Christmas basket project.

10 a.m. — Woodwind Duet at Turner Photography. Paula Patterson, flute and Ellen Neufeld, oboe

10:15 a.m. — Lindsborg Swedish Folk Dancer performance, 100 block North Main Street with special guests, Soderstrom 4th graders, Lucia, and Star Boy

10:30 a.m. — Dala Camerata Trio at Turner Photography, Henry Littich, violin; Ann Samuelson, violin; Lillian Green, viola

10:45 a.m. — 4th grade St Lucia & Star Boy procession to Bethany Lutheran Church

11 a.m. — Smoky Valley High School Band Ensemble at Turner Photography

11:30 a.m. — SVHS Band Ensemble at Turner Photography

11:30 a.m. — Soderstrom 4th grade "St. Lucia Program" at Bethany Lutheran Church

Noon — SVHS Chamber Orchestra at Turner Photography

1:15 p.m. — Folkdanslag performance in front of Bethany Lutheran Church

1:45 p.m. — Lindsborg Swedish Folk Dancer performance in front of Bethany Lutheran Church

2:30 p.m. — Brass Ensemble in the bell tower at Bethany Lutheran Church

3 p.m. — Lindsborg Swedish Folk Dancer "St. Lucia Program" at Bethany Lutheran Church

5 to 8:30 p.m. — Old Fashioned Christmas at Old Mill Museum - Mill tours, music and drama, children's crafts, shepherd's story

Contact Cheyenne Derksen Schroeder by email at cderksen@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow her on Twitter at @MacSentinel.