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Emily Johansseon, 9, right, and Audrey Powers listen to instructions as they rehearse their performance at the Linnea Lodge's annual Lucia festival. (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat)

Lorna Rochman ties the sash on a traditional provincial Swedish dress at the Linnea Lodge's annual Lucia festiva

Emily Johansseon, 9, right, and Audrey Powers listen to instructions as they rehearse their performance at the Linnea Lodge's annual Lucia festival. (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat)

Sweden’s Christmas season begins on Dec. 13 with the celebration of St. Lucia Day. Pageants of white-robed, candle-crowned girls are held throughout the country.

Here in Petaluma, Linnea Lodge has been holding its annual Lucia pageant since 1971. The group dates back to 1927 and has members in Santa Rosa, Petaluma and Marin County. Last Sunday, its 41st annual pageant was held at the Petaluma Veterans Memorial Building.

The evening began with Swedish glögg (mulled wine) and a smorgasbord, followed by the pageant, a procession of white-gowned girls carrying candles and “star boys” in pointed hats, singing “Santa Lucia” in Swedish.

Cookies were served after the pageant, followed by dancing around the Christmas tree and, of course, a visit from St. Nick and tomtenissarna (Swedish elves).

Lorna Rochman ties the sash on a traditional provincial Swedish dress at the Linnea Lodge's annual Lucia festiva

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