Santa Lucia & the Christmas lights!
On 12th December 2021, our first ever "Santa Lucia Service of Light" was held at Duns Tew, followed by the official switching on of the lights on the church (thanks to Matt Ilott of Christie Lights and Tony Simpson, Lighting Designer).
Services commemorating the Italian saint Santa Lucia are being held at a growing number of locations throughout the UK, though the origins of the festival lie in Scandinavia where she is called Sankta Lucia.
We were impressed with the children who participated - they were all spectacularly good readers, telling us the story of St Lucy, who was a fourth century Christian martyr.
Her feast day is December 13th and she is associated with bringing light into the winter darkness, so what could be better than celebrating our own special Christmas lights in this way!
The traditional events follow the Swedish pattern of a candle-lit procession in church with special carols and readings, led by a girl representing the Saint wearing white robes with a crown of blazing candles. It is a visual spectacular which fits well into the Advent services in the lead-up to Christmas, and makes a change for children to participate in something a little different from the nativity scenes.
Afterwards we had mulled wine and refreshments in the churchyard rather than the church, due to the increasing Covid restrictions.