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Christmas Traditions In Old Town St. Charles MO - Celebrating Christmas Past
Santa Lucia - Bearer of Light
In historic downtown Old St. Charles in Missouri, along the Missouri, one can observe a magical time each Christmas Season. There is an experience that is so wonderful, and before this year I haven't been able to go. This year a friend and I went to this event, and even though it was a short time there really, we got a real taste of this extraordinary event. I had no idea the large scale event this was!
We first saw Saint Lucia, as seen in the first photo. These characters walk up and down the street, Main Street that is. It is a brick road, lined with brick sidewalks and decorated beautifully for the holidays. There are a total of 33 characters roaming the street, carrying character cards for each. On the cards are their photos, along with a description of their character. They are IN character as well, which we found out quickly!
For instance, St. Lucia was so beautiful and helpful and fascinating to talk with, but she had NO idea of the internet or flickr, or any modern conveniences, or so she let on. You see, since she lived centuries ago, she was in that character! I was so impressed. On the back of St. Lucia's card, it gives several little tidbits of fact, and what number she is in the grander scheme of the whole event. She is number 11 of 33 characters this year for instance. Also, we find out she was born in 283 AD in Sicily and she brought food to persecuted Christians that were hiding out underground. She wore a wreath of candles to light her way, thus the bearer of light and visions. That was just some of what I learned. I began to be even more excited and my friend laughed at me and we had the best time.
Next, we saw the carolers, dressed in their old English costumes of long ago, something you might see on an old Christmas movie. They were excellent. They would go along and sing some more.
Next, we saw the Town Crier. He had a bell and a stopwatch, fully decked out in full uniform. He looked and sounded the part, which we heard soon after he left us. The Town Crier shared essential town news and governmental orders with his community, but literally shouting out the information. It was so cool to see him do this, he was VERY loud and people stopped and smiled as he shared the time and news, etc. The dependence on town criers died down as newspapers came on the scene in history.
Next, we saw the Ice Queen, who was great, and so funny to us! She was very beautiful, and asked us a question. She said, "have you ever slipped on the ice in winter?" We both said yes! She said, "You are welcome", with a smile! She was a stinker, and I laughed at her mannerisms. She seems so sweet, but has another side, and you don't want her to kiss your cheek too many times, even three times will cause you to not find your way back home, so the story goes! She is queen of the snowflakes and Jack Frost both.
We saw Father Christmas, one of a few of them evidently. He was wonderful, and full of charming stories. We really enjoyed our short visit with him.
Later in the night, when all was over and we were done with dinner, we saw the Flower Girls. One gave me her card, 18 of 33. Flower girls made a living in London back in 1889 and during the surrounding years. They would make a living selling flowers or matchsticks on the streets. One could find them near the Convent Gardens and Farringdon Markets. Often, these girls were orphans of Irish immigrants, or daughters that supported their entire families simply by selling these flowers or matchsticks.
I truly enjoyed my time in Downtown Historic St. Charles Missouri this Christmas season. If you ever get a chance to visit, I hope you will. It is a sheer joy for people that go every year.