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Sophomore Selected To Play Santa Lucia

By Jordana R. Lewis, CONTRIBUTING WRITER

As we near the darkest day of the year, Harvard has its own Santa Lucia, the Swedish queen of light, to lead the way through the winter months.

Sophia A. Lidskog '01 will play the role of Santa Lucia in the Swedish Yuletide Fair hosted by the Boston Chapter of the Swedish Women's Educational Association (SWEA). The fair will be held on Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cyclorama, Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont St.

During the parade, Lidskog will lead a procession of about 15 other women, ranging in age from 19 to 25, in singing traditional Swedish songs.

Lidskog will wear Santa Lucia's traditional costume, including a long white robe, a red sash and a wreath of candles in her hair.

Lidskog said she was chosen for the role after her mother, a member of Boston's SWEA, suggested it to the group.

"SWEA was in need of a girl to play the role of Santa Lucia," she said. "My mother told them that she has a daughter that loves to sing. She had a picture of me that she showed to them and they decided to give me the role."

Lidskog's picture was key in landing her the role as Boston's next Santa Lucia.

"There is definitely the right look for playing the part of Santa Lucia," she said. "It is definitely a blonde, Scandinavian thing. I even need to grow my hair out long because Santa Lucia is always thought of as having longer hair."

Even though Lidskog yearns to be able to cut her hair, she realizes that in playing Santa Lucia this December, she is living every Swedish little girl's dream.

"In Sweden, the Santa Lucia Pageant is almost like what the Miss America Pageant is in the U.S.," she said. "Contestants are judged based on personality, beauty and their ability to sing."

A native of Sweden herself, Lidskog remembers growing up with the Santa Lucia tradition in her home.

"My mother used to dress up my brother and I in Santa Lucia costumes," she said. "At school, him, a friend and I would go from classroom to classroom singing traditional Swedish songs."

According to Lidskog, students across Sweden follow this Santa Lucia-inspired tradition of "courting" their teachers.

"All of a teacher's students go to her house at about 5 a.m., dressed in their Santa Lucia costumes," she said. "The students wake up the teacher by singing `Santa Lucia,' the anthem, and offering the teacher baked goods."

But Swedish Santa Lucias offer this special "good morning welcome" to more than just schoolteachers.

"Each year the Nobel Prize winners stay at a hotel in Stockholm overnight," Lidskog said. "In the early morning, they are woken up by that year's win- ner of the Swedish Santa Lucia Pageant."

"Unfortunately, most of the Nobel Peace Prizewinners don't know about our tradition. Instead,they wake up to find some beautiful, blonde-hairedwoman in a white robe standing at the foot oftheir bed, singing to them with baked goods inhand. The prize winners think they have died andgone to heaven," Lidskog said

"Unfortunately, most of the Nobel Peace Prizewinners don't know about our tradition. Instead,they wake up to find some beautiful, blonde-hairedwoman in a white robe standing at the foot oftheir bed, singing to them with baked goods inhand. The prize winners think they have died andgone to heaven," Lidskog said

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