MLH celebrates iconic Christmas traditions

Saturday, 18 December 2010 00:09 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

As Mount Lavinia Hotel’s theme for the season was iconic traditions it was no wonder that the celebration of St. Lucia, the patron saint of light, was an important part of their festivities.

“While St. Lucia’s Day is celebrated in the Scandinavian countries in great procession and indeed marks the beginning of the Christmas season, we at MLH believe traditions as such need to be celebrated and exalted since that is the Spirit of Christmas,” a spokesperson for the hotel noted.

One of the most popular Christmas traditions in Sweden is the celebration of Saint Lucia’s Day, on 13 December. Although not a legal holiday, Saint Lucia’s Day is a day of great celebrating and merriment.

The Story of Saint Lucia stretches back to the time of the Vikings and the Roman Empire. According to legend, Lucia was a brave young woman from the island of Sicily, in the Mediterranean. When Lucia heard about the persecution of Christians by the Emperor, she gave one Christian family her entire dowry. This so angered her betrothed husband, that he told authorities that Lucia secretly practiced Christianity. Lucia, who died a martyr’s death, was much admired for her courage, generosity and faith. And tradition has it that she took food to Christians hiding from persecution in underground tunnels, wearing candles on a wreath around her head to light the way.

Traditionally, on St. Lucia day The Lucia is dressed in white robes and red ribbons and wears a crown of candles on her head, which indeed was performed. Often times the eldest daughter plays Lucia, and greets her family with a breakfast of hot coffee and pastries, known as Lucia Buns or St Lucia buns or Swedish Saffron Buns or Swedish Lussekatt.

St. Lucia is rich with religious history and symbolism, and it is a holiday that has withstood commercialism and stayed firm in its origins in modern times. Mount Lavinia Hotel celebrated this event with the same objective of spreading light and hope throughout the season and the coming year and entwining that iconic traditions of such nature should be made aware to the world over.

The night of 13 December at the hotel made way for Santa Lucia with the star boys who brought forth light and hope whilst Sri Lanka’s most renowned choirs: Soul Sounds and Voice Print thrilled the audience which consisted of the business community, media friends, the diplomatic corp and travel trade partners. The saffron bread and Swedish mulled wine or glogg was the essence of the evening along with inhouse guests and valued patrons of the hotel too partaking in the celebration spread magnificently in the Empire Ballroom.