Longtime Sons of Norway members were honoured with 25-year pins and certificates at their 25th Annual Norwegian Christmas celebration, Jultrefest, at Lobelco Hall last weekend.
President Barb Gilbert led the proceedings, with pins and certificates awarded to June Vosburgh, Norman and Margaret Brekke, Bill and Helene Harstead, Linda Brekke, Marie Hansen, Dick Harstead, Barb Gilbert, Frank Brekke, Catherine Hammer, and Peter Solhjell.
Jultrefest has been a part of the Bella Coola community Christmas celebration since 1987. It includes the traditional Santa Lucia ceremony, which has been a part of Scandinavian tradition since Viking times.
According to various historical interpretations, the legend of Santa Lucia started hundreds of years ago. In the early hours of the morning of December 13th, a young woman of rich and noble parents, dressed in a white gown, with a red sash and a crown of lingonberry twigs and blazing candles, would go from one farm to the next. She carried a torch to light her way and brought baked goods to each house. She returned home by sunrise. Every village had its own Lucia.
Santa Lucia Day celebrations were strong first in Sweden and spread from there to Norway. The origins of today’s celebration can be traced to the 4th century martyrdom of a Sicilian virgin named Lucia.
Lucia symbolizes light and growth for human and beast as she emerges out of the darkness of the long winter nights. Because her name means “light,” many of the ancient light and fire customs of the Yuletide became associated with her day, such as the lighting of the candles in our local Santa Lucia ceremony.
Today, Jultrefest and Santa Lucia are focused around our Valley’s children, and thanks to the hard work of some dedicated volunteers, parents and spectators were treated to a fun evening of singing and Christmas plays.
Caroline Granander worked her magic once again this year, and had the children sing a delightful version of ‘The Mitten Song,’ followed by a hilarious short play, ‘That’s Not Santa.’ The kids had a great time.
The Bella Coola Community Choir performed, and Breagha Koroluk and Kayley and Kristen Clair presented Santa Lucia this year.
Once again, jolly old Saint Nicholas entered the building, and he was busy this year. At least 30 youngsters were in attendance for a meet and greet with Santa Claus, a testament to the growing population of young folks!
The evening wrapped up with a fabulous array of traditional Norwegian baked goods that were thoroughly enjoyed by all. Thanks to the Sons of Norway for once again hosting this lovely community event.