Monday, December 17, 2001

I went yesterday to finally see the Lucia program - children singing in a Lucia procession followed by a concert of songs appropriate to St. Lucia day and to Christmas - and I sat with my friend C., the photographer, on one side and a little old lady on the other side. I guess the little old lady heard me speaking in English with C., because at one point she turned to me and said in English, "You know we sang the same songs when I was a little girl, with the same little routines."

Which made me think that there must be at least 70 years' worth of schoolchildren who have had the same anticipation and excitement each year; 6 year olds who can't wait to dress up as gingerbread men (for the song about gingerbread land), 7 year olds who can't wait to graduate from being gingerbread men into being the mice for the "hejsan, hoppsan, falderejderal" song, 8 year olds who can't wait to be able to hold a live candle instead of a small battery-operated electric one.

I was disappointed that there wasn't a stjärngosse in sight - not even one little boy in a pointy hat singing with the girls. But my disappointment was quelled when, about a third of the way into the program, they brought out a whole choir of 7-year-old boys, all dressed in little red and white hats and outfits. Someone had wised up and realized that the best way to get the boys to sing was to create a choir especially for them - but oh, the poor woman who has to lead a rehearsal of a choir of some 20 little boys.

They were a bit squirmy, and took a lot more guidance than the girls to get them into a straight line, but they sang as best they could, then holding hands and forming four circles and dancing round the stage. All except one little boy who just squirmed, to the great irritation of the little boy next to him who kept trying to get him to stop, imploring the teacher with his eyes, a look of exasperation on his face.

Me, I would've been that little boy trying to quiet the other boy. I surely must've been a bit of a prig. I suppose I was an unsufferable child when it came to these kinds of things. It makes me squirm just to think about it now.

The Swedish phrase for the day is levande ljus. The literal translation would be living light, but the actual meaning is a candle.

- by Francis S.

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