HIGHLAND | The Nordikids of Northwest Indiana celebrated Scandinavian holiday traditions Sunday at the Wicker Park Social Club.
They sang traditional Scandinavian holiday favorites and wore traditional costumes, including the white dresses and wreaths favored on Santa Lucia Day.
The Nordikids range in age from 2 to 21 and are based out of Ridge United Methodist Church in Munster. Sponsored by Vasa Order of America, a Swedish American fraternal group, the Nordikids receive Swedish language and choral music training and learn about Scandinavian culture.
The kids perform at fairs, festivals, Midsummer at the Dunes, Ikea, the Museum of Science and Industry for Christmas Around the World and other venues. The Luciafest at Wicker Park was one of two major Nordikids fundraisers this year.
Samantha Carroll, 10, was honored during Luciafest as the 2013 Lucia Queen. She joined her fellow Nordikids in singing Swedish songs and other traditional favorites such as "White Christmas."
Program director Lynnea Sinwelski filled the audience in on the Scandinavian traditions the kids were commemorating. For example, a very important day in December is St. Lucy’s Day, or Santa Lucia.
On St. Lucy’s Day, Dec. 13, the children in a Scandinavian family dress up in traditional costumes. The younger girls wear white dresses and tinsel crowns while the oldest girl wears a wreath festooned with candles, in honor of Santa Lucia. The boys wear cone-shaped hats decorated with stars and are called starngossar, or Star Boys. While in costume, the kids come into their parents’ bedroom and serve them coffee, Santa Lucia buns and other treats.
St. Lucy, or Santa Lucia, was a Christian martyr who died during the Diocletian persecution in Rome. Her feast day is celebrated in Scandinavia, Italy and Malta.
Early in Sunday’s program, Samantha, as this year’s Lucia Queen, was given the gift of a necklace and a half-dozen red roses. She also got to sing a solo, “God Morgon, Mitt Herrskap,” and was joined onstage by her brother Alec, 13, one of the Star Boys.
Being crowned Lucia reminded her of “being with my grandma,” she later said. Samantha is a third-generation Lucia Queen, her grandmother Carol having been crowned when she was a girl.
“Grandma engulfed Sweden,” laughed Samantha’s mother, Sherry. Her love for Scandinavian culture was so great that she was happy to pass it on to her family, she said. For example, she participated in Scandinavian programs as a piano accompanist.
Parents of the Nordikids formed the Nordik Folk Lodge in 2006. For more information on the Lodge or the Nordikids, call Lynda Smith at (219) 923-8777.