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Christian ~ December 13th ~ Saint Lucia Day
One of the earliest Christian martyrs, St. Lucia was killed by the Romans in ad 304 because of her religious beliefs. The Day is a festival of lights celebrated in Sweden, Norway, and the Swedish-speaking areas of Finland in honour of St. Lucia. The festival marks the beginning of the Christmas season in Scandinavia, and it is meant to bring hope and light during the darkest time of the year. Schools generally close around noon on the day of the festival so that families can prepare for the holiday. Families observe St. Lucia’s Day in their homes by having one of their daughters (traditionally the eldest) dress in white and serve coffee and baked goods. Daughters also wear lighted wreaths on their heads and in ancient times,
lit candles were in these wreaths.
In earlier centuries the Norse celebrated the winter solstice with large bonfires meant to scare off evil spirits and to alter the course of the sun. After converting to Christianity sometime around ad 1000, the Norse incorporated the legend of St. Lucia into their celebration. The modern festival of light combines elements of both pagan and Christian traditions.
Judaism ~ December 12th ~ 20th ~ Hanukkah
Jewish Festival of Lights. It commemorates the Maccabean recapture and rededication of the Jerusalem Temple in 165-164 b.c.e. Special readings and praise songs focus on liberty and freedom.
The eight candle Menorah is lit each night.
For Native Americans of the Zuni tribe in New Mexico, December marks the time of the
Shalako Kochina Ceremony. For other aboriginal tribes, this is the season when the river freezes
and the land sleeps, known as Luut’aa.
Christian ~December 3rd ~ December 25th ~ Advent
Advent marks the beginning of the Christian worship year in preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ. Always beginning on the Sunday nearest November 30, it is observed with the lighting of advent candles, display of wreaths and special ceremonies. Many families also use an advent calendar with their children for the month of December leading up to Christmas; each day offering a special surprise.
Advent Day 13:
(Roll over for a surprise!)
Affirm: I shine my Love in the world!