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Swedish Society plans St. Lucia’s Day celebration

Submitted Photo Kae Watson, a member of the Northwest North Dakota Swedish Society, decorated the Gol Stav Church in the Scandinavian Heritage Park for Christmas. The group will host a Christmas caroling and St. Lucia’s Day Celebration at the park on Saturday.

The Northwest North Dakota Swedish Society will host an afternoon of Christmas caroling on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 2 p.m. In the Gol Stav Church at the Scandinavian Heritage Park. The Christmas caroling will be followed by the group’s first St. Lucia Day celebration in 15 years in the Sons of Norway room at the Minot Visitors Center.

“We just think we need to have a little bit of fun and we need to celebrate,” said Kae Watson, a member of the group. “The Swedish Society is a really fun group.”

St. Lucia is the patron saint of Sweden. Traditionally, girls wear white gowns and candle headdresses on the day. Watson said a girl will be playing the traditional St. Lucia role on Sunday and also will hand out the traditional St. Lucia buns that are eaten on the day.

“I am 93 percent Swedish and I’ve never seen one of these,” said Watson. “That’s one of the reasons I am so excited about this.”

Watson said many North Dakotans have a rich cultural heritage, including traditions they pass down that they might not think of as Scandinavian. For instance, many North Dakotans traditionally open Christmas presents on Christmas Eve, as was common in Scandinavian countries, or are trained to take off their shoes before they enter someone’s house.

‘I know I love pickled herring because it’s just in my DNA,” said Watson.

Watson decorated the Gol Stav church at the park for Christmas. The church is not heated, so she strongly suggests that Christmas carolers dress warmly for caroling.

She said the church is beautiful and has great acoustics so the sound of Christmas carols will echo through the building. She knows many people love to sing Christmas carols and don’t get many chances during the Christmas season.

“It doesn’t take a lot of people to just fill it with sound,” she said.

Some of the carols will be in Swedish, thanks to organizer John Mogren.

Watson said the caroling will be quick because the weather will be cold, but the St. Lucia’s Day party also will be a lot of fun.

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