Publisher’s view: Holiday traditions and Donald Duck

Jeff Mitchell is shown.

For the most part, holiday traditions are very similar across the world. Families come together to share the holiday spirit, gifts are exchanged and there is usually food involved. Generosity is spread to those less fortunate, and there tends to be a feeling of being uplifted.
In Sweden, where I just returned from a visit with my son, one of those traditions is the celebration of St. Lucia’s Day (or St. Lucy’s Day) on Dec. 13. The celebration comes from stories told by monks who first brought Christianity to Sweden. The most common story told about St. Lucia is that she would secretly bring food to the persecuted Christians in Rome, who lived in hiding in the catacombs under the city. She would wear candles on her head so she had both hands free to carry food.
The Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year—a pagan festival of lights in Sweden—was turned into St. Lucia’s Day and is celebrated with a young woman in a white dress with a red sash around her waist and a crown of candles on her head. Carols are sung as St. Lucia leads a procession in various parts of the town.
Another popular and important tradition Swedes do on Christmas Eve is watch Donald Duck. For more than 55 years, at 3 p.m. Christmas Eve, one of the main television stations in Sweden airs the Disney special “Kalle Anka och hans vanner onskar God Jul,” meaning, “Donald Duck and his friends wish you a Merry Christmas.” I know in my family some like to watch “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” some Homer Simpson and others “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
As we look to the start of another year, don’t forget to pause and embrace all that we have. Celebrate the holidays and your traditions and remember share the holiday spirit throughout the year. Merry Christmas and happy holidays!
Jeff Mitchell is publisher of the Free Lance and New SV Media.

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