Monday, 12 December 2005

St Lucia

Tomorrow O's school is celebrating St Lucia - a Swedish holiday as one of his teacher's is half Swedish. This is what one website had to say about the holiday:

Throughout Sweden the feast day of Lucia, or Lucy, is celebrated as a festival of lights. In the early hours of the morning of December 13 a young woman, dressed in a white gown, and wearing a red sash and a crown of lingonberry twigs and blazing candles, would go from one farm to the next carrying a torch to light her way, bringing baked goods, stopping to visit at each house and returning home by break of day. Every village had its own Lucia. The custom is thought to have begun in some of the richer farming districts of Sweden and still persists although the crowns are now electric lights.
In Norway and Sweden it is still a custom on December 13 for a girl in a white dress (representing the Saint), to bring a tray of saffron buns and steaming coffee to wake the family. She is called the Lussibrud (Lucy bride) and her pastry (saffron buns) is Lussekattor (recipe and photo). Today many families have a Lucia-Queen in their own home, often the youngest daughter, who wakes the rest of the family with song.
Lucia symbolizes light and growth for human and beast as she emerges out of the darkness. She is said to have been beheaded by the sword during the persecutions of Diocletian at Catania in Sicily. Her body was later brought to Constantinople and finally to Venice, where she is now resting in the church of Santa Lucia. Because her name means "light" she very early became the great patron saint for the "light of the body"--the eyes. Many of the ancient light and fire customs of the Yuletide became associated with her day. Thus we find "Lucy candles" lighted in the homes and "Lucy fires" burned in the outdoors. Before the Reformation Saint Lucy's Day was one of unusual celebration and festivity because, for the people of Sweden and Norway, she was the great "light saint" who turned the tides of their long winter and brought the light of the day to renewed victory.
Before the calendar reform, her original feast day (the day of her martyrdom) happened to fall on the shortest day of the year. The winter solstice was December 13 by the Julian calendar rather than December 21, which it became with the change to the Gregorian calendar in the 1300s, linking it with the far older Yule and Winter festivals of pre-Christian times. Lucy's lore survived the Reformation and calendar reform, which brought the solstice to December 23.
Another Scandianavian custom was for children, on the eve of December 13, to write the word "Lussi" on doors, fences, and walls. In ancient times the purpose of this practice was to announce to the demons of winter that their reign was broken on Saint Lucy's Day, that the sun would return again and the days become longer. "Lucy fires" used to be burned in many parts of northern Europe on December 13. Into the bonfires people would throw incense, and while the flames rose, trumpets and flutes were playing to celebrate the changing of the suns's course.
I have made O a point hat with gold stars and a gold starred wand. He will also wear one of my white t-shirts. It is a shame because the parents don't get to see what they do - and O being O won't tell us much!!!

An update

Of sorts!

It has been busy (well as busy as life ever gets for me as a SAHM!) I am gearing up for Christmas - presents are all bought! Now they just need wrapping - which will be a job in itself! I have no idea about Christmas dinner - we don't eat meat so I need to decide if we will have fish or a veggie option. Thinking about doing an onion tart! Different!

The children are great! O and I went to see "Chicken Little" at the cinema. O was a little scared in places (didn't like the aliens) but he wanted to stay and was happy to sit on my lap and cuddle up to me! He loved the Mummy time - bit of a Mummy's boy!

F is also doing well. Still not walking but she can climb anything! She is now standing hands free but not for too long! I don't worry about it - she will do it when she is good and ready! She is such a happy little camper - always smiling and giggling!

I am doing pretty well too. Get a bit overwhelmed at times but overall feeling fairly good.

It has been too long!

I always keep meaning to update but don't! I know I should - what is the point in having a blog if I never write in it (not that i think anybody actually reads it - my life is much too dull!)

Friday, 2 December 2005

It has been a while!

Bad me!! I come online every day but as not a lot happens I don't think to post!

This week we have had a friend's 14 year old son stay with us as he is doing work experience at the company J works for. So before he came I did an enormous bake - chocolate chip muffins, ginger cookies and maple syrup cookies so that there was enough for him to munch on. Fortunately he eats a good meal at the office so he hasn't eaten us out of house and home as yet!

F and I went to her first ever playgroup this morning. She loved it - especially the little mini trampoline they had in there. the downside is is that it is on the otherside of the city - so a good 30min drive. So whether we go again depends on F's wake up time! We had to rush home (she fell asleep in the car) and then I gave her an early lunch and then she went back to bed. She has fallen asleep again thankfully - or else she would be so grumpy!

O is so very excited - the advent calendars have arrived! This year he seems to understand the concept much much better! And it is doing wonders for his number recognition!! He also get's to open F's (she only has one because I bought one and my mum bought one!!) but he does hers in the evening whereas he opens his in the morning!

So now it is December better get working on Christmas!!