Church holding Lucia Fest
From Staff Reports November 30, 2012 2:10PM
Tiffany Gravitt, 17, will portray the Queen of Light during the Dec. 9 Santa Lucia observance at Church of the Good Shepherd Evangelical. | submitted photo
Updated: January 3, 2013 6:19AM
The Swedish tradition of Santa Lucia will be observed following the 10:45 a.m. worship service at noon Dec. 9 at Church of the Good Shepherd Evangelical Covenant, 2437 Plainfield Road, Crest Hill.
The Queen of Light will be portrayed by Tiffany Gravitt, 17, the daughter of Marie LaSalvia-Gravitt and Howard Gravitt of Crest Hill.
Along with a traditional white gown, Gravitt will wear an apron that belonged to the late Marge Hazen, the mother of Don Hazen, longtime Herald-News sports writer.
As part of the traditional Lucia Fest, the Queen of Light, also known as Lucia, will invite the congregation to a Swedish smorgasbord, sponsored by Women Ministries. The cost for the meal is $5 per person; children 10 and under will be admitted free.
Gravitt will be accompanied by attendants portrayed by girls and boys from Church of the Good Shepherd Sunday School. Martha Skoien will sing “Santa Lucia” in Swedish, and Ashley Estep, the 2011 Lucia Queen, will read the traditional story of Lucia.
The celebration is a Swedish custom that ushers in the Christmas holiday.
According to legend, Lucia was a godly girl who became engaged to a nobleman at the age of 17. Before the wedding, Lucia gave her dowry to the poor as a thank you to God for answered prayer. Her intended husband, suspicious that she was a Christian, ordered her put to death on Dec. 13, 304 A.D.
Hundreds of years later, Lucia reportedly appeared in western Sweden during a famine to distribute food among starving people.
Gravitt, a senior at Plainfield Central High School, is an honor roll student and an active member of Church of the Good Shepherd, where she volunteers with preschool ministries, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School and the church serving team.