In December guests of We R Able, a program for adults with disabilities and the general public, celebrated the beginning of the holiday season according to Swedish customs and traditions. The St. Croix River Education District building was the site for the event, which began with a light supper of Swedish meatballs and other comestibles. Dining music featured Nordic tunes on the accordion and
fiddle, plus guests got to experience the early morning Santa Lucia celebration from Örebro in Sweden, streamed over the Internet.
After explaining the legend, Santa Lucia herself, dressed in white and wearing a wreath of candles in her hair, invited the participants to create a Lucia procession, first the women carrying candles, and then the men carrying stars while all sang the Santa Lucia song. Each group served the other with traditional ginger cookies called pepparkakor, which provided a means for wish-making as long as the cookies broke into only three parts.
We R Able coordinator Valorie Arrowsmith taught the group how to make traditional Swedish Christmas tree ornaments filled with candy. These
colorful julgranskaramel hang on the tree through the season until the 20th day of Christmas, which is St. Knut’s Day, Jan. 13. On that day, friends and family gather, participate in song games around the tree, undress it, eat the candy
decorations, and then throw the tree out the window, a custom that will be reenacted in Rush City at the Community Center at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 9 through another We R Able program.