Annual pageant set for Stratford church

Children needed for Lucia Festivity of Light Pageant

The area’s Swedish American community will be celebrating the upcoming St. Lucia Day with the annual Lucia Festivity of Light pageant on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. at the Stratford Lutheran Church, 812 Teneyck Ave, Stratford.

St. Lucia Day, Dec. 13, is celebrated all over Scandinavia and areas of the world affected by Scandinavian migration. Prior to Dec.13, young women are chosen to be St. Lucia and reenact her charity for their community on St. Lucia Day. The same will happen in Stratford, with young women representing the predominantly Swede settled area of Swede Bend; which includes Boxholm, Harcourt, Gowrie, Dayton, Burnside, Pilot Mound, Swede Bend, rural Stanhope, Stratford, rural Stratford, and the Swede Town area of Fort Dodge. Candidates are required to have Swedish ancestry, whether a descendant of the Swede settlers of the area, or being a current resident of the area.

The pageant is filled with Swedish and American Christmas carols, folklore, dramatizations, along with the crowning of Lucia. Lucia also has an entourage of Lucia Maidens, Star Boys and Tomte (Elfin Boys). Elfin Boys (portrayed by younger boys) provide mischief in the homes where they reside, but if you treat them well, they will bless your home with good luck for the year.

Star Boys (portrayed by older boys) go door to door asking for food and money to help them afford their schooling. Traditionally, Lucia Maidens (girls 3 to 15 years old), assist St. Lucia in bringing coffee and saffron buns house to house, along with the Star Boys, in the morning after the longest night according to Norse legend. Costumes will be provided, and rehearsal is prior to the pageant. Children need not be of Swedish descent.

This year, the Lions Club will be serving a soup luncheon from 11a.m. to 1 p.m. Swedish carols singalong with pronunciation practice at 1:15 p.m. prior to pageant’s start at 2 p.m. Refreshments served immediately after the pageant.

The Swedish Foundation of Iowa’s Swede Bend Settlement Inc. has been hosting this event for over a decade. The public is invited to participate in this cultural and holiday experience.

Swedish descendants should inquire about the benefits of becoming a member of the Swedish Foundation. Contact organizer, Carol Larson, if you are interested in participating, 515-838-2440.