Warning: Braggedy-braggy post ahead.
December 13th is Santa Lucia day in Scandinavia, and this morning my boys' school gathered their students in a darkened gym. There they waited until an elected girl, portraying St. Lucy, solemnly walked into the room dressed in white, wearing a crown of candles. She was followed by a procession of other little girls, also wearing white, each holding a single candle. They slowly made their way around the room, while singing hymns to Santa Lucia in their high children's voices.
I have vivid memories of being chosen as a candle girl at my school one year, and how my hands shook as I stood outside the door, waiting to go into the gym. I was fearful of the candle in my hands, and nervously excited about singing to the rest of the school. When the moment finally arrived, I recall being amazed at how quiet and enraptured my fellow students seemed as we entered the room, and what a lovely light the flickering candles cast in the gym. To an 8 year old girl, the experience was oddly moving.
Even though boys play no part in the Santa Lucia procession, I was excited for my children to experience the ceremony for the first time ever this year. What would they think of the singing? And the candles? Would they be overwhelmed by the feelings of peace and joy that I still clearly remember 30 years later, even though they'd be spectators and not participants?
I guess I'll have to ask Benjamin about that, since Christopher ended up being in the procession after all. And no, not as a girl - even though his much contested long hair might cause you to mistake him for one.
You see, recent discoveries apparently have it that, in addition to white-clad angels, Santa Lucia was also followed by a posse of Norwegian stable boys.*
As head stable boy, Christopher ended up singing - solo - in front of the entire school in this year's Lucia production, wearing the typical stable boy outfit of a traditional, knitted sweater, short pants and long red woolen socks.
Judging from his blank expression when I tried to share my own memories of Lucia with him this afternoon, I'm pretty sure he didn't feel all mystical and powerful, either.
He did, however, believe this to be a good first step on the way to his chosen career of "being famous." I guess that's something.
*Equal opportunity taken to a new level, clearly.
In other Christopher news, my the-universe-revolves-around-me-eldest-born-child just came out of bed to ask me if I can drive him to a mall tomorrow and leave him there. He wants to go shopping for his Christmas presents by himself, because "this year I want you to be surprised, not like last year, when you knew all the presents ahead of time".
That puddle you're standing in is my melting heart.