As part of Home for the Weekend series, this program examines Christmas from the perspective of some cultural customs that make up the varied ethnic background of Midwest. Includes segments of music, stories and interviews.
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Good morning, and Merry Christmas on behalf of producer Vicky sturgeon and reporter Dale Connelly. This is Kim Hudson welcoming you to home for the weekend made possible this morning and part with funds provided by the Western Bank and Trust of Marshall and the Otto Bremer Foundation of Saint Paul.People be dying. People are born in the ring just goes round and round the Christmas tree you look out and it was really offensive really very nice thing dancing around the Christmas tree at the box office. She was really something Annika developed. From a holiday of dedication to the face which is still here. But in addition Festival of Lights, and of course that's very appealing to children because they always like to look at candlelight Ranch polish Chef saying that applies especially The Christmas Guest in the house has got in the house and so poles always set an extra place at the table. Christmas the Feast of St. Lucia the festivals and rituals which marked the end of darks increase in the return of the light at the winter solstice throughout the Northern Hemisphere. It is a time of Celebration and praise for virtually everyone. Skull Island This great Prairie region of ours is a crazy quilt of ethnic backgrounds on this morning's program will hear about some of the Customs which came to this land with the European people who settled it not so very long ago. Our survey is of necessity far less than complete. And we apologize in advance to the icelanders the Norwegians and the many other immigrants as well as the Native Americans whose midwinter celebrations are not touched on here her program began with Christmas music from Sweden and continues now with more of the same and it's a Lexus which means it's a plain answer a game dance in Rich Square people start out and then other people can cut in and take your money or your fruit away from you. Send message. I think it's kind of neat because to me the American people seems like a mixture of so many people and when difficulties or problems between different groups Superior might be easier to understand if you keep know some idea where they came from and why did my might have their point of view nothing but also keeps make people that don't have friends or maybe they get even more friends when they get to know that maybe the neighbor people are all star from Sweden or something. So it's my ring even American people closer to each other. Maria Johnson at Swedish high school student in Sioux Falls this year on an exchange program. She said in with the Swedish singers during their concert in celebration of Saint Lucia. The Swedish singers are affiliated with the Scandinavian studies department at Gustavus Adolphus. Not the music department part of their studies of the Scandinavian region deal with the history of traditional holidays Tanya Haber. The leader of the group told me the story of Saint Lucia was originated in Italy where the Lucia girl was in the town of Sicily around the year 300 and she heard about the Christians and she heard about the terrible things that they've been doing and she was converted to Christianity and started giving away her wedding gifts and her husband was very upset by this and he had her taken by the Roman soldiers and put in jail. She was tortured when she was in jail and pretty soon the soldiers killed her and a few years later. I'm Lucia was named a saint and the words of her Christian virtues spread to all of Christendom later early missionaries to Sweden brought the legend of St. Lucia. And one of the Legends tell that during a famine in the province of Vermont. There was a boat coming across the water in the bottom of the boat was alucia standing with a white long robe on with a red sash around her waist and the burning candles on her head and she came and brought Foods all the starving people of Vermont. And so Sweden has made her a saint and on December 13th, which is the darkest day of the year the swedes celebrate Lucia Day and the oldest daughter of the family or relative comes into the father's room early that morning bringing coffee and Lucia Cocker which means Lucia buns which are made from saffron and she serves them to the father and the younger boys in the family are starboys. She had to go Serna. And they come with little pointed hats on their heads coming and singing the song Santa Lucia to their papa. St. Lucia symbol is the symbol of light because of the candle she has on her head and because sweetness so dark in the winter and so all the homes from December 13th through the 12 days of Christmas are lit with candles and all the rooms. I'm in honor of this saint and the charity that she brings a Christmas. It's just on the 13th that Lucia gets up in the morning and serve the family and that initiates the Christmas season and the Christmas season in Sweden is longer than our season here in America. It extends for 12 days after Christmas in which one goes to school or work or anything and there's much merriment the relatives, They're singing and dancing around the you will get on the Christmas tree. So the lucii just is the beginning of the season and then it lasts for almost a month would like to be to be sweet. I think they're doing a good job. Go to. Call Mom. After midnight mass of the mass of the shepherd's it's called in the past at all, people. Usually the old country of visited from home to home singing carols very often dressed up in costume dressed as animals carrying very large stars or During what war called shotgun of a kind of stage in which they put on pretty elaborate medieval mystery plays around the end of King Herod appears. For example, the Devil the angels all sorts of other characters that never appeared at Christmas time and they tell the Christmas story. Some of these are very elaborate and every year even today in in Krakow Poland Poland a celebration is held right around Christmas time in a great contest is help people carve their own. Some of them are 5 6 10 feet high and stages and they they look like elaborate Cathedrals and they have two or three levels and they have sometimes 50 60 70 puppet characters originally what the peasants did is they cut the top off of a pine tree and usually them two or three feet of they hung upside down and then decorated it with all sorts of paper decorations candles leprechaun pie on cookie decoration made to look like spider webs very intricate design. apples and fruit and nuts that sort of thing Celebration of Christmas in Poland is Rich with many folk Customs besides the normal religious services and gift-giving many poles used to celebrate the 12 nights of Christmas with sleigh rides to the homes of friends neighbors and relatives there. They would Feast on traditional polish Delicacies and sing polish Christmas carols Thaddeus in Kittredge illovsky of Marshall still retain many of the Polish Traditions within their own family there celebration begins on Christmas Eve with the vigil supper a traditional polish borscht conserved along with mooshki a mushroom dumpling as well. As a poppy seed cake cabbage and fish dishes the children begin the evenings activities by watching for the first star the Christmas star. And when the first star appears that means the gelia or the vigil supper is ready to begin. The culmination of the whole evening is when each person takes their Rock piece of unleavened bread in lines up from the eldest to the youngest and if you have a large family gathering, it makes quite a lineup and they pass one another and has a password another person breaks off a piece of the person standing opposite of plotke Aquatic and eats it and they Embrace and kiss and wish each other a good year to come also part of the customers that no one is to approach the gelia table with any anger in their hearts. So it's a timer for giveness. The meal then begins with this the breaking of the bread when the first star appears then the people sit down one of the important things as of course, they have us some kind of light in the window. The Polish tradition is that this is the time of year that only one family is good together, but also to bring in anyone who's alone traveling sick in some way maybe abandon to bring them into the family in the didn't mention polish saying that applies especially The Christmas Guest in the house has got in the house and sew holes always set an extra place at the table the Christmas meal also involves eating at a table that must have a white tablecloth and it also must have straw representing the straw in the manger and which I slept after the dinner is over in many households are wine toast is drunk wishing everyone a good year and then Christmas carols are sung and then people prepare to go to church for the Midnight, Mass. Don Nicola mom. This Sunday deep are Adidas is French. That's one of them. We sang Santa Claus capucha stick it but I miss school and just pick something in my shoe all what you can get in the show. Put it on the windowsill sing right along that he told some candy of the more we sang the more candy who took this is mostly when when I was small that I remember this when I was very small. but after that we had four years of one none of that happened anymore then I don't think I even got presents then or if we couldn't get to go and see how God Parents are the different towns or anything like that that was out then came to America from Belgium when she was 17 and now she lives just north of get Minnesota belgians like the Dutch Reserve 25th of December as a sacred a religious take the giving of gifts took place on December 6th Saint Nicholas day as mrs. Fan cooling remembers the adults all went to a great deal of trouble to organize a celebration for the children. In fact children were so important in the festivities on the eve of st. Nicholas day that many neighbors would come over just to watch Martha van culin her brothers and sisters as they waited for the arrival of Saint Nick. We all gather and the other room, And the they have those tools, you know, those long stove we sit around the stove and in the evening the neighbors all come around and watch to see what's going to happen because of his nine children and we had really that's one of the main most interesting day is for the children and we gather around and and Santa Claus comes every once in awhile and until some candy or shows that he's coming in that Dad would come and tell us while he's on his way, but it might take a little while to her once in a while. He'd have an accident of some kind to get us all excited. We're all the sudden the door was open and some hand with throwing something and you never see that was supposed to be Santa Claus for us some some, you know some saint of some kind. But anyway, he finally we hear that the bells and he comes in and he Test beautifully with the big my truck just like a bishop in church clothes and Nicodemus is what I mean. He has got a smaller have more like that, you know different and then some sort of a donkey comes along to I don't know what that is. And that one of the children was still having pacifier and and and Santa Claus with take that pacifier and give it to Nicodemus and Nicodemus with put it in that donkey. I don't know what to do. Something was jumping and the Finally, he did Nicodemus had the basket with candy and and fruit and he handle he make us all pray or recite some Santa Claus story A Christmas Story or something. We always get real excited about that. And then we had also some turnips and some carrots and that had to go to the stable that was for his donkey that was supposed to be the donkey for Santa Claus is donkey and by morning, of course, we went and watched the barn and that was that had disappeared, of course Santa Claus donkey have stayed in the park tonight or all make-believe things, you know, but then he that Santa Claus would ask us what we wanted and the generally bring pretty much what we what to ask for. We had a beautiful doll china doll, then it was just beautiful. the boys have rocking horses bloxom to get your presents then in the morning or did they come at night? He just went went to bed and I think my sister got up one night and watch to see who she was really something and she she I think she knew more than we did. You know, we were kind of well, you know naive as children then like I said, we have church doing some Christmas day. Could you describe what the service was like what the church look like on Christmas day mostly As I remember a beautiful life size statues and and Christ child is as big as an ordinary baby and laying and close in the in the call, you know, and it was Very nice. And and I remember in one of the master suite that would be at we have a pretty large down one of the masses that the children would sing. Christmas songs during the mass the church was crowded two of them early in the morning. I think Mass was wasn't really bad nightmares. I think it was early in the morning about 4 or 5 or something like that. and the all the The whole family would go to that mess. I remember that that's what we thought it was pretty special. Undoubtably as they are in any age were influenced by their environment and by their neighbors and they felt the need to to look for Spiritual light and the Darkness and Gloom of this time of the year and Asquith many holidays the original remaining meaning and bases remained intact but not almond Square deduced. So kind of got developed. from a holiday of dedication to the face which is still is but in addition of Festival of Lights And of course that's very appealing to children because they always like to look at candlelight and the procedure is unique that is in 89 Branch Candlestick over there, which is called a Konica Minolta or Candlestick. The one candle stands higher than the others and with it the candles are lit in Progressive order of numbers on each of the eight nights the holiday yellow Hino medical alarm. I sure could you show no butt Mitzvah. Service, Ivona. Hardik New Rochelle Hanukkah, praise be the Lord our god king of the universe who has to Know About Us by thy Commandments and commanded us to Kindle the Hanukkah lights. As one candle making dough many others and yet lose none of its own light. So Judaism has Kindle the light of Truth for many religions in Many Lands. The first light tells of him whose first command was let there be light the darkness of idol worship with scattered when Israel brought the radiant knowledge of one God. I am the first and I am the last say the Lord and the actual meaning of the word is dedication or rededication historically in the dates are not absolutely certain would usually accepted as 168 BC. As beginning of a conquest to Palestine by the Syrian Empire of that day the syrians like many conquering Powers wasted their own culture and religion upon their conquered inhabitants. The Jewish people were very fervent in many cases in maintaining their own face and it seemed the terrible desecration of the main sanctuary at Morgan near Jerusalem when the syrians installed their idolatrous form of worship there and their worship was nothing Accord with a spiritual worship that Jews had a spouse. The second is the light of the Torah Israel's book of Law and brought learning and truth to all the Western World. The Commandment is a lamp and the law is a light the third is the light of Justice. No Nation can endure which is unjust to the week. Justice always just a shop out Pursuit was the grandest command of Moses our teacher the syrians had enlarged their Conquest entirely too far over extended themselves. And so they had to pay attention to certain revolts zipper and disquiet. It was occurring in various other territories to and the combination of both the Rebellion among the maccabean heroes and their followers and the Rebellion elsewhere in the Empire cause them to leave Palestine in the year 165 BC three years later the 4th is the light of Mercy cruelty hardens the heart and destroys friendship do justice and love Mercy was the teaching of Mega the prophet V is a light of Holiness purity of thought nobility of action make all of life sacred from the prophet Isaiah. These words have been taken into Israel's prayer book. Holy holy holy is the Lord of hosts followers of the Jewish faith. I wanted to restore the temple to its original Purity and they claim Skip the evolved forms of worship the taben practice there by the pagans, but they found that the Perpetual or eternal light of face. That burn is over the Altar and in those days it was an oil lamp was not burning they investigated and found that the oil supply has been depleted. So they looked around for more of the oil and all they found according to the Legend This is not biblical nor is it apocryphal but it's a legend that is grown up in connection with a holiday the oil in that small amount which they found lasted by miracle for 8 Days 6th is the light of love when the love which our parents gives us makes all our life beautiful. We learn to understand the biblical words. Shalt love the Lord. Thy God with all thy heart and soul and night. The seventh is the cam light of patients. Nothing can be achieved in haste the spreading trees and the soul of man grows slowly to Perfection the same King David trust in the Lord wait patiently for him. The holidays are for came to be known not only as Konica the Festival of dedication or rededication on account of rededicating the sanctuary, but it became known as a festival of lights and they're developed a custom of lighting the lights for a evening of the holiday. So the holiday last for 8 days because it is our custom to begin a holiday at Eventide or even any day in the Hebrew religious calendar and therefore Now the candles are lit on each of the Knights of the holiday date is a lot of Courage that truth and Justice be your armor in fear, not Judas Maccabee the hero of Hanukkah live by The Words which Moses spoke to Joshua be strong and of good courage With the blessings that are traditionally given by the mother in the Jewish Family on each of the eight nights of Hanukkah candles are lit. The runners are very concerned that this holiday remain a religious and family celebration. They don't want Hanukkah to become as commercialize is Christmas has Rabbi hibshman believes that the celebration of Hanukkah much like Christmas has taken advantage of many ancient folk customs and rituals. It was more than a religious meaning that created within people a Fascination for the Festival of Lights the Jewish people living in the land of Persia at one time and considerable numbers. We're in contact with the worship. 1200 A Street in ISM, which believed in the God of Light and of Darkness the god of life was I believe called her Mazda. The master lamp is named after that word and this significantly fell at the time of the winter solstice the darkest and coldest time of the year and you can imagine how and days before there was artificial lighting like we have today how dark some of the nights were when the moon was not out. There was no doubt very much people were afraid of the dark. So they wanted to signify that there was a spirit of life that prevailed even at the time of the greatest Darkness. What's your favorite part of Hanukkah? Hanukkah a holiday a jolly Depot I'll be able to sing a happy song. 148 lights to reminder Saturday Christmas day in Holland is a very sacred event. It includes two days of church services around the 25th to celebrate the birth of Christ unlike Scandinavians in the English, but that's not have secular Christmas carols. Although they do sing Dutch translations of some of their favorites like silent night most of the song sung at Christmas or sacred hymns or Psalms a group of women of Dutch Heritage still get together in Orange City, Iowa to sing many of these songs and their native language. The group is called saying cooler and they made at the first Christian Reformed Church in Orange City. Several of these women were born in Holland and still remember how Christmas was celebrated in the Old Country 6th of December or Saint Nicholas day with the time the Dutch gave gifts and participated in the more secular or folks Traditions that we now associate with Christmas on the eve of st. Nick's Day the children would gather and wait for the arrival of Santa Claus, then from time to time the door would open and a hand presumably st. Nick's would throw candy paper notin so hard spicy cookie or sauceman's peanuts on the floor for the children to Scurry after weeks before and Sunday school the children would write down three things. They really wanted from Saint Nick and if they were lucky and very good they would find one of these gifts on the morning of December 6th. One woman's father was a baker. She and others remember the special cookies that were big for that date besides paper knowlton's there were cookies called cut letters. And of course, there are big cookies shaped like Saint Nick himself. Despite the song nature of the religious service right around Christmas day. There were a few festive Touches for the children many times. It would be a large tree decorated in church and often the children were served hot chocolate during the church service since coming to America. However, these women no longer observe Saint Nicholas day now, they like most of us Focus their seasonal celebration around the 25th or the whole idea of Santa Claus or Saint Nick began and Hauling these Dutch women are sorry that it has become such an important part of Christmas and they feel that the original concept of Saint Nick has been corrupted by over-commercialization one senses that they would like to see a return to separate holidays so that the religious significance of Christmas day is not lost. You know, when was there was there swings that we're done before st. Nick's Day like skating parties or things like that, but now that she has a lot of scraping and not not the river but sometimes feels feels recovered realize you were asleep in the evening to give a baby in the evening was Saint Nicholas day. That was that they open the door and then they we never saw anybody but that they threw peppernuts what were they called in and they threw them in the house and we all grab for me and I'll see you on so many we can get a Christmas chocolate milk had to take your own cup you have so long and then we had chocolate milk. When does the Christmas program and I remember we had a ride down three items that provide of the sunday-school like to have but I don't top and if they are if you could that's what's been getting. It didn't make a Christmas when we were children. They just make of Christians what they do today. Not at all. If we had wanted one gift at Christmas time. That was it. And where there would be extra pool was a real religious holiday, very important. We don't like it the way they put it together here. Can Alum be kept separate? Silent Night stille enough to invite under whose name. I wouldn't dare try to pronounce and the recording was loan To Us by Lyman and Hilda Schaefer's who came to this country from Latvia and 1951 Vicky visited them in their home in Westbrook Minnesota where Hilda shaffer's reminisced about Christmas in Lafayette on Amazon vegan, give out your percent for each one music and oceans at 3 when I was child because in that diamonds are electricity was only in the city not on the farms. Yes, I do because When a Christmas Davy has a church again mostly at the 11 or between 10:00. What does a chicken wings and come home then a big dinner for close to visit or do you say Singapore? goose What you do that on the last of the Thirteen Days of Christmas? could you If I came here and say Christmas Eve with and spent the day with your family, could you explain to me what your what things your family does here to keep some of those some of the Latvian Traditions vintage children was smaller than before the children learn some little poems about Christmas or or around Christmas on the Santa Christmas Eve song some Christmas songs or together and after xan's that you didn't say some poems mostly people always say for each presidency must say something new poem how many baby boy names? I seen gives presents Wednesday children open on Christmas day. Just enjoy in the family. Is there any one Christmas Eve when you were a child or even now that you remember this? nice, the Christmas is my favorite icing holiday when I really remember it, especially I don't know what like the Christmas is over specialist. Because there is many doing some Christmas tradition presentation. Must have been you a ways and you all come home. When are you old? Gazeta to parents house. I think that's something special always. I remember the Christmas tree was really magical when I was a kid. I used to lie under it and you'd look at all the decorations there old decorations. I member the door places for the decorations in a sense that my mother had collected and she brought from Sunland the tree was different every year in one way, but it wasn't because they were special places where this direct decoration went. David Benson Farms with his father near Bigelow Minnesota and still celebrate Christmas in the house where he grew up David's mother Bertha is finished. His father Gus is Swedish and their Christmas Customs were deeply rooted in the Scandinavian tradition feasting and presents on Christmas Eve and church on Christmas day one traditional Scandinavian custom still practiced in the Benson home is particularly meaningful for David. I really think the best time was dancing around the Christmas tree. It really was and it's it's it's gotten better when I was a kid. I I it's hard to remember when I was a kid, but I can remember being in a ring of people and now as I grow older Ivan, and I guess it's just it's a ring of people that changes as time goes on everyone still there and it's really nice. As in Irene Woods growing people be dying people are born and the ring just goes round and round the Christmas tree and you look out and it was really a it's a really very nice thing dancing around the Christmas tree. down They never even put the Christmas tree up this early as we do they just put it up yesterday before or that morning. And then the Christmas Eve day. We started everybody cuz you know, and that's what's the real reason, you know, everybody took turns going into putting on their best clothes and then we always have to dance around the Christmas tree. I haven't there been he used to apologize that this more time so he can bring so much but he always said that I'd still like to come anyway, so we always had that text mother had made an animated cats and things like that. Even if I can't remember how he say kiss boots snow off out in the hallway and knock on the door and go status for excitement. With the passage of time and the mobility of the population in this vast land Customs change stockings filled with goodies may not be found in the Benson house on Christmas morning and not all the gifts are open on Christmas Eve. These distinctly on Scandinavian Customs come from Sally Ann Benson. David's wife who grew up with English Christmas traditions in Massachusetts hanging stockings by the fireplace on Christmas Eve leaving Ritz crackers and milk out for Santa waking up in a state of almost unbearable excitement in the pre-dawn hours of Christmas morning opening stockings first, and then so excruciating torment having to wait until after breakfast to even see much less open for gifts around the tree. The blending of Christmas custom Sally. Ann says has taken some getting used to relieve most of our activities other than the Caroline which is really nice because that was a neighborhood thing and it gave us really something very exciting to do but it's really interesting. Now, it's taken us a while before we can even even begin to accept each other's Christmas. And so with his parents we have until Christmas Eve celebration with the rice pudding in the lutefisk and dance around the Christmas tree, which is really fun. And then I Christmas Day. We also have some of my traditions like the stockings That Christmas day being a holy day. I think that's really valid because I think Christmas Eve was a family was it was a very personal warm clothes thing and and Christmas Day seem to be a different a different experience. It really was very very special atmosphere and we going to serve coffee if you want to come in and you can you get up that early. And that concludes our program. Our thanks to Rabbi hipschman then Fred Andros breiner and family of Sioux Falls. Mrs. Martha van. Keulen of Ghent that is and kid Reggie lisowski of Marshall Hilda and lime and chafers of Westbrook. The bensons of Bigelow. They are in cities Encore and director pet Vulcan the Swedish exchange student Maria Johnson and Sioux Falls and Tanya Haber and the Swedish singers from the Department of Scandinavian studies at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter who were recorded in Sioux Falls by Dale Connelly. All of those people took part in this program the Schaeffer's and the Reggie locks Keys also loaned us records, which were used in its production. This program was made possible in part with funds provided by the Western Bank and Trust of Marshall and the Otto Bremer Foundation of Saint Paul and was produced by Vicki sturgeon with the assistance of Dale Connelly and yours truly Kim Hodgson. On behalf of the three of us along with Paul Derby our chief engineer and Duty Hudson our director of promotion and development. We want to wish you a truly joyous holiday season. Will see you next week and next year.