Marja-Leena Rathje
Home ::: Lucia and lights

Lucia and lights


How lovely, on Lucia's Day to have our first real snowfall, light flakes slowly dancing down, the frozen ground now white and an icing-sugar-like dusting on evergreen branches. It set the right mood for finishing up the holiday letters and cards.

We were lucky to have two weeks of sunshine before these clouds came along, but the days are short, the nights long, thus our craving for light becomes a part of the season's celebrations here in the northern lands.

St. Lucia is celebrated by the Scandinavians, even the Finns now. Expatriates might have such celebrations in the Scandinavian community centers outside their home countries. But we had a small taste of another celebration yesterday when we met friends from out of town for lunch at the beautiful VanDusen Gardens. It's the setting for the annual Festival of Lights. It was a treat to see them come on in the darkening afternoon just before leaving but we had no time to go in for a walk for it's a huge park. We have enjoyed those amazing light presentations there one night some years ago with these same friends and it really is a magical place. The garden volunteers spend two months putting up the lights.

On the drive home we spotted Christmas trees for sale next to a Catholic church doing a fundraiser for their school, and so it was we picked up a tree, saving a trip out today! It's sitting inside the garage in a bucket of water, awaiting the night we bring it in and put on lights and ornaments. We usually do it on Carol Ship Night when the boats go by all lit up with lights, with the biggest one ringing out Christmas carols.

Now that the letters are done, thoughts turn to start cleaning and decorating our home. On Wednesday, our family in the UK are arriving, so there will be the merry sound of excited and happy grandchildren in the house again! Soon there will another midwinter celebration of light.


That all sounds very, very good, Marja-Leena! Especially the part about the merry sound of children in the house. Happy Yuletide to you all!

Heh-heh. Can't tell you how uppity I feel having done my outdoors tree before you did yours. Never mind about Carol Ship Night. Make sure you put up the danglers sometime before Finger Amputation Night; in the past I've come far too close to celebrating that little-known Christmas festival.

R, thank you, same to you! It's a lot of work getting ready but I love this season, made even more special with young ones around! Hope the snowstorm coming tonight doesn't impact on their travel like it did last year.

BB, lucky you to have an outdoor tree to decorate! Ours are far too big, we'd need one of those ladder trucks or talk about amputation! Instead we decorate the Japanese maple and shrubs by our front steps and walkway. Here's a photo from last year . And we decorated on December 5th or 6th this year. The indoor ones always come later, though not on Christmas Eve like in husband's German family tradition. That's too much work, I think, on the most important night in both Finnish and German Christmases.

It sounds wonderful!

I picked up a young woman hitching this morning; it was freezing and she looked very worried, it turned out her car wouldn't start and she had to meet the school bus to accompany the children. I ended up taking quite a long detour and being late for work, but had a warm glow that I'd done a good turn, and saw the prettiest lighted trees imaginable which I would have missed otherwise.

Have a marvellous holiday time, ML, with all your family, and all the festivals of lights you can get in!

Hattie, we try to make it so, little by little yet still modestly.

Lucy, that's a wonderful thing you did! A Christmas story for your memoirs. Thanks so much for the wishes, and the very same to you and yours!