Saturday, December 17, 2005

Fire, fire!

As we get closer and closer to Christmas and the nights get longer and longer, I was very excited to participate in two very unique holiday celebrations this week.

On Tuesday Carl invited me to the Santa Lucia celebration at the Swedish Embassy. Guests chatted over glasses of glogg and ginger snaps (courtesy of IKEA) while they waited for “the main event!” Neither Jennie nor Carl would tell me exactly what "the main event" was, so I was very curious! Santa Lucia Day is a traditional Scandinavian holiday that celebrates light and one of the longest days of the year. Carl explained that most schools, businesses, apartment buildings and towns in Sweden have Lucia celebrations. It is, of course, a big honor to be Lucia.

Back at the embassy, the building went dark as flickering candlelight and singing began filtering down the glass staircase. The first girl to descend from the third floor was Lucia. She wore a white dress with red ribbon around her waist and five lighted candles on her head. The other girls in the choir also wore white, carried candles and wore wreaths on their heads. The boys (Star boys) wore white robes and cone hats (think dunce cap, or the KKK as Carl brought up.) They sang a collection of traditional Lucia songs. Though I didn’t understand the words, I could imagine the enchanting lyrics inviting people out of the darkness of winter and into the light. At the end of the performance, the kids quietly walked outside as the wind extinguished their candles. Very impressive!

The first photo I "borrowed" from another website. The second one is from the evening.

The other fun event in my social calendar this week was Christina and Niels’ Christmas party, complete with Feuerzangenbowle. I’m not sure how to translate this word other than “fire punch.” Basically you warm red wine, oranges and maybe some spices, then rest a sugar cone on a thin metal rack over the wine, douse the sugar with rum and set it on fire. The blue flame didn’t show up on the photo below, but as you can see from Christina and Niels’ expression, they were thrilled the alcohol was burning and no one lost their eyebrows!


At 8:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How cool!


At 5:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you get to compare the merits of Swedish glogg to German gluhwein at St. Lucia's? Jennie.

At 12:28 AM, Blogger Erin said...

Of course I compared... my fellowship is all about research. I was just doing my job! I prefer glogg... I liked that it was a big sweeter and the almonds and raisins added a fun touch! Gluhwein does get dramatically better though if there are pieces of fruit floating in it. I am also now a fan of feuerzangenbowle and am trying to decide if any of my friends could handle the responsibility of receiving a bottle of rum and a sugar cone as a Germany gift. (Adam and Daniel are already off the list;-))

At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm.. I think *one* of your Germaophile friends could definitely handle feuerzangenbowle. We could test it out in new environments - i.e. the streets of Shaw ;) Jennie

At 12:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Candles on people's heads? Sorry, but that is a lawsuit waiting to happen! Who other than, Anuradha :)

p.s. I can't wait to see you!!!!


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