SAINT LUCIA TEA
Saint Lucia Tea
Saturday, December 10
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Each December, Trinity Lutheran Church celebrates the Saint Lucia Tea, a Swedish festival of light – a symbol of hope and peace for the Christmas season. All are invited to celebrate with music, candles, and traditional Scandinavian treats at this festive community event. The Saint Lucia Tea will be held indoors in our Fellowship Hall.
Legend of Saint Lucia
Lucia was a young girl who lived in Sicily around 300 A.D. She became a Christian and gave her dowry to the poor; consequently her fiancé denounced her to the Romans. Lucia was then blinded and condemned to death by burning. According to pious legend, the flames did not harm her, but framed her body in a halo of light. This is probably the basis for the crown of lighted candles Lucia wears. A soldier then killed her with his sword. This is the reason that Lucia wears a red sash, red being the symbol of the blood of the Holy Martyrs. Lucia died December 13, 304 A.D. In popular piety, she quickly became associated with light, for she had sacrificed the light of her eyes rather than deny “The Light of the World.”
Winters in Scandinavia are long and dark, so Nordic people have an almost semi-religious attachment to light. December 13th was the shortest day and longest night. This was the day Lucia came, bringing light and hope in their darkest time of year. When Christianity came to the North about a thousand years ago, it was not so strange that a saint identified with light became popular among common people. Nor was it strange that Saint Lucia was the patron saint of farmers. Saint Lucia is also associated with charity. She gave her dowry to the poor, and according to Swedish legend, during a famine in the Middle Ages, she crossed Lake Vänern with a boatload of food for the starving people of Värmland.
In more recent times, the tradition in remembrance of that event has changed. A daughter of the house, usually the eldest, rises very early on December 13th, Lucia Day, bringing coffee and saffron buns, “Lussekatter,” to her parents and family. She wears a white dress and has a wreath of candles on her head. Lucia celebrations also take place in towns, churches, and schools throughout the country.
Thus the “Saint Lucia Fest” commemorates and honors a devout Sicilian girl for her Faith and Witness.
History of Watertown’s Lucia Open House
In 1949, Frances & Naomi Bergman hosted the first Watertown area Lucia private house party at their home on a farm near Mayer.
Margaret Horn, age 10, was the first Lucia. Her crown was made out of cardboard paper plates wired together. Her Aunt, Edna Mae, stood close by with a wet bath towel. She was positive Margaret would catch on fire as there were real candles used on the crown.
In 1959 when Margaret was attending the U of M School of Nursing she was again Lucia with a “real crown”.
When Bergmans moved to town, the Lucia party took place for one year at the Albin Thompson farm and then was continued by the Bergmans in their home in Watertown until Naomi’s death in 1965.
The Trinity Saint Lucia Tea Open House that is sponsored annually by the Women of Trinity began in 1969, when they took part in the community Ecumenical movement. For a few years the open house was hosted in various homes of members. Because more room was needed, the open house was moved to Trinity’s church basement and continues to be held at this location.