The festival gives the descendants of Seminole County’s early settlers the chance to celebrate their heritage and share their customs with others.
It was a beautiful day for the festival in Sanford, which was held outside in the courtyard of the Museum of Seminole County History.
Food at the smorgasbord included pickled herring, dill potatoes, ginger cookies, Swedish meatballs and lingonberry jelly.
Inside the museum, visitors saw a Swedish history display, telling about the lives of the early Swedish settlers. Also in the museum were small Christmas trees with traditional Swedish decorations.
The Lake Mary Elementary School Chorus sang the traditional “Santa Lucia” as well as several other holiday songs.
St. Lucia Day (Sankta Lucia in Swedish) is actually on Dec. 13. In Sweden that day, the eldest daughter of the house dresses in a white dress with a red sash, and wears a traditional crown of lingonberry leaves with seven burning candles. The daughter then serves her parents coffee and saffron buns.
A large influx of Swedish immigrants came to Seminole County beginning in 1871. They worked in the citrus groves at first, then became farmers, carpenters and business owners. Many of their descendants still live in here.
The festival was sponsored by the Seminole County and Sanford historical societies, and the Museum of Seminole County History. Viking World Orlando was responsible for bringing the Valhalla to display in the courtyard. The event coordinator was Teri Patterson.