In third grade, my friend and classmate Kristin and I did a project together around Christmastime. We were to learn a bit about how other countries celebrated Christmas, and do a sort of write-up, and then a little presentation for the class. I imagine that everyone had different countries, and that we weren’t the only ones presenting something, but I really don’t remember.
Our specific project, as my mother and I recall, was over St. Lucia’s Day, a holiday seen as signaling the arrival of Christmastide. It is a Catholic and Lutheran holiday, mostly celebrated in Italy and Scandinavia. All I remember from what we researched was that the girls in a family traditionally wore white dresses, made rolls of bread early in the morning, and sang songs at home, while wearing this sort of crown-wreath on their heads, with candles on it. We dressed up one of my little wooden dolls to look the part. She had a green pipe cleaner head-wreath, with rolled up tissue candles, and a tissue dress.
Since we had talked about how the girls in a family would sing traditional Christmas songs, we were asked if we could sing one of the songs. We confessed, however, that we didn’t actually know any of the particular ones sung for the holiday. Someone asked us just to sing an English Christmas carol, instead, and we somehow ended up with “Silent Night”. So, Kristin and I sang “Silent Night” to the class together. The irony of singing a German song for a mostly-Scandinavian holiday struck me only in recent years. 😛