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Scandinavian Christmas celebrated next weekend

POULSBO — The Poulsbo Sons of Norway is giving the community an opportunity to get into the Christmas spirit early by joining in a holiday celebration that dates back hundreds of years.

The Lucia Bride will once again grace the waterfront of Little Norway this year as part of events that will take place from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Dec. 6. Poulsbo’s version of Julefest, the Scandinavian Christmas Celebration, will include a full day of music, food, dancing and culture that will have Norwegians and non-Norwegian’s saying, “God Jul.”

The Dec. 6 lineup of events is:

•10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Scandinavian art and gift items for sale at Sons of Norway lodge

•Noon to 5 p.m. — Scandinavian food served, including meatballs, pea soup, hot dogs, Rommegrot, lefse and waffles

•5-7 p.m. — Julefest celebration at Waterfront Park

•7-11 p.m. — Trolls Den serves Glogg and hot drinks and members and guests can dance to Thin Ice

The most-anticipated event of the day is the arrival by boat of the traditional Lucia Bride. Each year, a young woman is chosen to represent the Swedish saint, a young Christian woman who gave all her wealth to the poor and was martyrized in the year 304.

The arrival of the Lucia Bride, who is swathed in white and wearing a lighted wreath on her head, has been celebrated in Poulsbo since the 1980s. The event, which is celebrated across Scandinavian countries, represents the arrival of light into the winter’s darkness.

“If the weather is nice, my favorite part is when the Lucia comes with the Vikings and they light the bonfire,” said Sons of Norway Administrator Mariann Samuelsen.

The evening’s happenings will begin with the Sons of Norway Princesses lighting the community Christmas tree near the Kvelstad Pavilion. Entertainment will be furnished by the Vestre Sund Mannskor male chorus and Sons of Norway Dancers. Dr. Roy Johnson will also enlighten the crowd on Norwegian Christmas traditions including julenek (sheaf of oats), julebukk (straw goat) and julebukking (a holiday tradition something like a mixture between caroling and trick-or-treating).

The gathering will be led by master of ceremonies Stan Teigland, the incoming Sons of Norway #44 lodge president.

The event culminates with the Lucia Bride, this year portrayed by Kate Olanie, being ferried across the bay in a Viking long ship to the strains of “Santa Lucia,” sung by Patricia Brumbaugh. From the Port of Poulsbo dock, the Lucia is led by a solemn procession of Sons of Norway Vikings with torches.

At the community fire pit near the flag pavilion, the Lucia and Vikings light a bonfire with a splinter of a yule log that was brought to Poulsbo from Norway more than 30 years ago. Sons Viking Brian Davis will give an invocation, explaining the tradition of the Lucia, julekubbe (log) and baal (bonfire) to the crowd.

Lastly, Santa and the Julenisse (little Santa), will greet children in the pavilion. Children get a chance to sit on Santa’s lap and will receive a special treat.

The Sons of Norway will provide complimentary cocoa, cider and cookies. Organizers also remind the community that Julefest will take place regardless of weather, however, some parts of the program may be changed in the event of foul weather.

“We had one year that was so terrible they couldn’t go out in the boat, it was hard to get the bonfire lit, it was really awful,” Samuelsen said. “But they do the best they can with the weather.”

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