Sunday, December 23, 2007

Santa Lucia Translated by Paul Widergren

Santa Lucia

The night goes with weighty step
round yard and hearth
round earth, the sun departs
leave the woods brooding
There in our dark house,
appears with lighted candles
Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia.

The night goes great and mute
now hear it swings
in every silent room
murmurs as if from wings.
Look at our threshold stands
white-clad with lights in her hair
Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia.

The darkness shall soon depart
from the earth's valleys
thus she speaks
a wonderful word to us
The day shall rise anew
from the rosy sky.
Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia.
--Translated by Paul Widergren

Here's an English translation of the Swedish Luciasången which is sung to a Neapolitan tune. Definitely an international song if there ever was one. Garrison Keillor wrote some alternate lyrics which begin:
Santa Lucia
She wasn't Swedish
She came from Italy
Dressed very prettily

If you want to hear the real song and tradition of Santa Lucia day, you can find it here (starting about 17-18 minutes into Segment 4).

In our family, we had never heard of this till I was probably 12 and we started getting the American Girl catalog. We never remembered to do anything on December 13, Santa Lucia day, so we celebrated on Christmas morning. Mom thought that lit candles in my hair was a bad idea, and we had no Lindon foliage to work with, so we made a wreath out of a plastic pine garland, and hot glued some candles in it which never got lit. I had a white dress, and she got a long piece of wide red satin ribbon for a sash. On Christmas morning, Mom would make cinnamon rolls, then wake me up. I'd put on the outfit, and she'd braid my hair and make those cute loops out of the braids. We put the cinnamon rolls on the gold and silver (plated) tray Daddy brought back from Germany, along with hot chocolate in the crayon cups that we got all those years ago from Pat and Dick Rogers. I would then carry the tray upstairs and wake (or pretend to wake since they were often waiting for me pretending to be asleep) each of my siblings with a kiss, cocoa, and cinnamon rolls. They were then allowed to go to the landing at the top of the stairs, put on an elf hat, eat their breakfast, and wait for the signal to come down.

Before we began doing Santa Lucia on Christmas morning, I simply woke up my siblings with a kiss in my role as Christmas Fairy (the Christmas fairy, in case you were wondering, had no special outfit, and no job other than to wake people up with a kiss). When I got older, Heather took over as Santa Lucia, but I still have a special fondness for the whole proceedings, and I think that it's one tradition I'll do with my family.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, such great memories. And how nice of you to write of them so well. You're helping us all with our own histories. . . .