Experiential learning is a good way to take in new material and remember it. This was the case at the third annual Santa Lucia celebration in December in Rush City, Minnesota. Awareness about the traditional Swedish Luciadag was fresh and new for many participants.
Guests took part in a Lucia procession, with the women serving pepparkakor (ginger cookies) to the men, and then reversing the roles. Everyone learned how to make a julgranskaramel, a traditional Swedish holiday ornament filled with candy. At each place setting were little booklets filled with Santa Lucia information, recipes and pictures, which helped participants find the answers for the Tips Promenad, a Swedish quiz game.
Music for the evening came from two sources. Live music was performed by the Spirit River Scandiband throughout the evening, with guests singing along on some songs. Guests also enjoyed the broadcast of the early morning Santa Lucia celebration in Gothenberg, Sweden.
The evening began with a light supper and ended with a långdans, a traditional end-of-evening dance from Sweden, in which all clasp hands in a long line, to do a side-step ending in a tight spiral. The dance provided a way for each person to see each other as they moved to the music of the fiddle, nyckelharpa and guitar.
We R Able produced the program. It provides accessible events for adults with disabilities and the general public for East Central Minnesota. To stay current with We R Able events, find them on Facebook.

By Valorie Arrowsmith