Marja-Leena Rathje
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Looking back: Lucia's Day


I am finding that one of the downsides of being a blogger for more than two or three years is that I feel that more and more I begin to repeat myself. Yet, readers come and go though there are many long time loyal readers that I treasure. Am I chatting with the new readers, or with the longtime ones? Both, of course. Well, it is my blog and a kind of diary, and it is a special time of year for me when I enjoy rereading my past December posts, dug up out of the ever larger archives. With today's slightly tired and jaded eyes, I look back on that first year of blogging and feel again that excitement of discovering new information on the net and the joy of connections with new blog friends. I'm going to link to some of my old favourites on their anniversary dates with the hope that new readers will enjoy them for the first time, and longtime readers will not be too bored. After all, this is the season of holiday traditions and this has become a tradition for me, as is sharing the joys. (However, the nature of this medium being what it is, some older links may be dead.)

400px-Lucia_1908_by_Carl_Larsson.jpg
Lucia by Swedish painter Carl Larsson, 1908 - from wikipedia

Today is Lucia's Day, or the Festival of Lights. Two years ago, I wrote in part:

Lucia is "the only saint celebrated by the Lutheran Swedes, Finns, Danes, and Norwegians, in celebrations that retain many pre-Christian elements of a midwinter light festival." "Her feast day in the West is December 13, by the unreformed Julian calendar the longest night of the year". Lucia also means light, so this is a festival of lights in the dark northern countries. I find it fascinating how the many religious and pagan traditions meld and transform over time into our modern day celebrations.

Last year's post includes some interesting links to other bloggers, especially Dave's unique view of the saint of light.

Happy Santa Lucia Day! Now, back to writing a few more Christmas letters. The overseas ones are finally on their way. I'm enjoying reading the ones arriving daily now.

ADDENDUM 3:50 pm: Lucy of Box Elder has written a wonderful and personally significant Nocturne upon St Lucy's Day - a highly recommended read!


11 comments

Marja-Leena,

We bloggers shouldn't be worried about repeating ourselves. The newspapers, magazines and TV are doing it all the time!

Anna, you are quite right, though I like to think blogs are just a bit different. But then, certain holidays come annually so we want to write about them each time, don't we?

"Lucia" is in fact Latin-derived, which makes it suspiciously like a case of a Christian overlay on a pre-Christian custom. Like Christmas, come to think of it! Hauska Joulua, M-L!

We shouldn't be blogging for our readers. These writings and notations are for us and as you see when looking back, help us to see how we grow and our lives change. I enjoy your blog greatly.

Hey Peter, yup, isn't it fascinating how these different traditions from different periods got mixed together, like Christmas!? Hauskaa Joulua Sinulle!

Joan, thank you and you are absolutely right. We write for ourselves first. The first few months I felt that particularly strongly, but then a conversation began with other bloggers, and I love that too. Certainly looking back is an act of self-reflection but I also like to look up some of those links that I found so interesting at the time.

I don't think you should worry about repeating yourself. The seasons repeat themselves and one can be foregiven for reacting the same way as they come round. In fact there can be much joy and poetry in repetition. The important thing is to respond freely to what happens round you, which is what you do.

Joe, thanks for the support. I like what you say about the joy and poetry in repetition and about responding freely to what is around me. Since I finished most of my Christmas letters (just a few left to send by email), I've been enjoying decorating the house. Tonight we're doing the tree as the Carol Shops sail by. Next week: bake, bake! And write some more Christmas themed blogs.

Many of the best artists repeat themselves -- you focus on what fascinates you and come back to it again and again.

I've been unaware of St. Lucia's Day. Many festivals of lights at this time of year, though. A celebration that we humans can make light in the midst of darkness. (A bit too much, I'd say, but never mind!)

I thought of you today (or was it last night?) while Christmas shopping. I came across some lovely mugs from Finland painted with folk art (the card said a style from the 1950s and '60s). They were lovely.

Leslee, that's true! After all this support, I will no longer worry about repeating myself! I do it in my art work, with a twist, so why not in my writing!? How nice that you thought of me - I wish I could see those cups!

We had a quiet but lovely festival of lights here last night - trimming our tree then lighting it to the sound of favourite Christmas music, while watching the Carol Ships go by from the comfort of our windows (it was raining).

And whoa, you have had a LOT of snow both in eastern US and Canada!

I tried hard to google something that might look similar, but no luck. If I get back wherever it was, I'll snap a photo (if I don't abscond with one for myself!).

Leslee, thanks again, but don't go to a lot of trouble, but if you do find it in your normal wanderings and buy it, then show me!