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Little Helper elf 2Quantity in Basket: None
Material: cold cast resin
Approx. Size: 6 inches
Nordic Christmas festivities begin with a great show of light in the celebration of Saint Lucia on December 13th, also known as Luciadagen. Lucia was born of noble parents in Sicily. A devout Christian, Lucia was martyred in the third century when she refused to renounce her faith. Because she was so beautiful and renowned for her great kindness towards the poor, her story spread throughout Europe and finally made its way to Sweden, where the Christianized Vikings heard of her. Many centuries later, when Sweden was in the midst of a severe famine, a peasant farmer saw a vision of a young girl, her face glowing as if lit up, carrying gifts of food. St. Lucia had come to visit Sweden, with hope and the promise of future prosperity. Today, Luciadagen is celebrated throughout Sweden in homes, schools, shops and factories. At home, it is the oldest daughter who re-enacts St. Luciaís generosity, as she awakes early on December 13th, and in her white flowing Lucia bride costume, wakes her sleeping parents with a tray of steaming coffee and the Lussekatter, or Lucia Cats, which are saffron-flavored buns. Around her head, bringing light into the dark winter morning is a shining lingonberry wreath of burning candles signifying the glow seen around St. Lucia in the peasantís vision so many centuries ago. After St. Lucia Day, Christmas is celebrated for another month is Sweden, ending with Knutís Day, January 13th. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are filled with family gatherings, and a smorgasbord of food. Early Christmas morning, families ride to church in sleighs, passing glowing candles in windows which light the snowy fields along the way. Swedish children receive their presents from the Jul-Tomte, or Christmas elf, who arrives astride the Julbock, the Swedish Christmas goat named after Thorís goat. The Julbock is laden with baskets full of gifts. Attached to each present is a little poem to help or hinder the person receiving the gift in determining the contents of the package. Birds are also remembered at Christmas time and Swedes wouldnít dream of sitting down to Christmas dinner until they have attached a sheaf of grain to a pole in the yard, decorating it with kernels of corn, sunflower seeds or sprinkling it with breadcrumbs for their fine feathered friends. The Swedish Santa is a melding of the little Jul-Tomte with the European Father Christmas. He is accompanied by the Julbock, bearing many gifts for all the family. The Swedish Santa wears a red wool coat trimmed in Swedish braid, and an extra warm shawl for those cold Nordic nights. In his belt hang candles, so loved by the Swedish at Christmas time, and gingerbread heart cookies. His pocket is filled with little packages and the Dala horse, which is a symbol of Sweden.