It is our favorite party of the year, when we gather with beloved friends and family to honor St Lucia, the Lightbringer “who heralds the imminent Return of the Sun,” as my friend Helen Farias wrote on her party invitations back in the day. Helen, who was the original founder and editor of the Beltane Papers, started the Lucia Party back in the 80’s. I read about them in TBP when I lived in California and was utterly charmed. I was honored to be invited to Helen’s parties once I moved to the Northwest. Helen died of breast cancer in 1994, and we could not bear to celebrate again for a couple of years. In 1997, St Lucia’s Day (December 13th) fell on a Saturday and it was a Full Moon to boot. How could we not celebrate? Craig and I, along with the Circle of Stella Maris (our mermaid sisters and brothers) have been hosting the party each year ever since.
This is the first Lucia Party in Rainbow Cottage, which is about half the size of Heron House on the island. It meant we had to cut the guest list way down, which is very hard to do. There were about 35-40 guests this year, which is a comfortable size. There were a few years on the island when 70 or 80 people came. We just can’t manage that many people here.
I started our parties based on the traditions I remembered from Helen’s parties, and of course our community added our own touches — lots of live music, since we have so many musicians among us, and ending the evening with a drum circle. We also read the poem “The Shortest Day” when we light the candle of Little Yule. Many of the young women who have “played” St Lucy over the years grew up coming to the parties. My young friend Chloe, who was St Lucy this year, has been to our Lucia Parties almost every year of her life.
Here’s some photos from this year’s party.