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‘Lucia Nights’ returns to Bishop Hill this weekend

Saint Lucy’s Day is celebrated on Dec. 13
Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 5:53 PM CST
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BISHOP HILL, Ill. (KWQC) - The holiday season is in full swing and this weekend is a time to celebrate Saint Lucia, Queen of Light. The Village of Bishop Hill is celebrating with “Lucia Nights”.

“The town is lit up, post card picture perfect. Every building in town has candles in every single window,” said Brian “Fox” Ellis, a storyteller and historian in Bishop Hill. This year marks 175 years since Bishop Hill was founded by Swedish immigrants, and this weekend marks the return of a celebration to honor Saint Lucia.

“St. Lucia Nights is a celebration of this mysterious ship that arrived in Sweden during the depths of a famine, and it was heavily laden with food. So, ever since then, we have celebrated Lucia Nights by passing out cookies, little girls wearing candles in their hair, and that will be happening here this weekend,” said Ellis.

The weekend kicks off with a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. Friday. People are encouraged to help decorate the tree with edible ornaments provided by the village.

“Because it happened close to Christmas, it’s an official kick-off of the Christmas season. So, from Lucia Nights through Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, all the way through the Epiphany Sunday just after, is a time to celebrate the long, cold winter nights in the northern hemisphere,” said Ellis.

In addition to live music, there will be a local storyteller telling both Pioneer and Swedish Christmas stories. You can also browse through more than a dozen shops in the village.

“All the shops are open late. There will be Lucia girls passing out cookies. The Methodist Church has a wonderful supper both Friday and Saturday night.” all leading up to Saint Lucia Day, or Saint Lucy’s Day, on Dec. 13.

“For her to appear in Scandinavia, in Sweden, during the depths of a famine with a boatload of ship, was truly a miracle and part of how she became a saint,” said Ellis.

Kicking off a Merry Christmas season is Bishop Hill. Or as the Swedish say, “‘God Jul.’ Good as in good but g-o-d. And j-u-l Jul as in Christmas,” said Ellis.

Lucia Nights runs from 6 to 9 p.m. this Friday and Saturday on Main Street and Bishop Hill Road. A dinner will be served at the Methodist Church starting at 4 p.m.

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