Christmas Traditions Lucia nights and others at Bishop Hill, IL; an American Illinois Historical site
When we lived in Viola, Illinois it was a fairly comfortable ride to the village of Bishop Hill It is not just a town but also an historic site and the home of the Bishop Hill State Historic Site, operated by the Illinois Historic Preservation society. We found it fun to go there durmg the Christmas season when they had various events, unusual gifts to buy and interesting crafts.
Immigrants from Sweden who were led by Eric Jansson settled the village in 1836. He was a religious leader who preached against the Lutheran church in Sweden. He had to leave Sweden and with his followers set up a “Utopian” community at Bishop Hill.
There are still some descendants of the early immigrants there. The town is now preserved with many buildings that were used. There are several restaurants, shops that sell largely Scandinavian imports and the old church, hotel workshops as well.
This year: 2010, the Bishop Hill event calendar shows that the Julmarknad Christmas Market November 26 to November 28 10 a.m. to 5p.m. and December 4 to December 5
We used to go to one of the Christmas Markets, called Julmarknad. Usually there are quite a few people so it gets a bit crowded at times in shops that were not designed to accommodate so many, but usually folks are cheerful. The weather that time of year is cold and there is the possibility of snow, which adds to the atmosphere. Along with the Holiday music the market is livened up with revelers dressed as folk characters such as
Tomtes and Julbock.
A Tome is a gnome like creature that lives under housed and barns. It is belived to protect the farmers home and family from misfortune.
A Julbock is represented often as a woven straw figure. Swedish ornaments are often made of straw.
November 26 and 27 9 a.m to 4 p.m. Homemade Holiday Cookies baked by Bishop Hill community bakers
December 4 to December 5 Chocolate walk
Select homemade chocolate delicacies at the steeple building.
December 4 Santa visits Bishop Hill
Santa will be at the Prairies arts Center, 203 Bishop Hill Street. This is a free family event but donations will be accepted for the Bishop Hill F fill the boot for MDA.A professional photographer will offer reso9nably priced photo packets. Fire Department.
December 10-11 Lucia Nights
Festivals of Lights “Lucias” serve coffee and sweets in the museums and shops. Special musical various locations including the Peoria Cooperative Academy Chorale
Nearly every establishment offers hospitality with Lucias serving cookies and beverages.
St. Lucia is a Swedish saint and St. Lucia Day is celebrated in Sweden on December 13. During the dark of winter. She was a martyr and portrays the “bringer of light” at festivals everywhere in Europe and in Bishop Hill, Illinois. A reminder of the ancient battle between Dark and Light; Cold and Warmth. The oldest daughter of the family, according to Swedish tradition, gets up before dawn during Christmas season, brings coffee and sweet saffron buns to everyone in the household. She dresses in a white gown with a red sash and a crown of lighted candles on her head. “Shop Lucia’s” at Bishop Hill serve visitors with sweet treats and coffee on Lucia Nights.
December 18 to December 19 Colony Store Appreciation Days
Refreshments, surprises, and door prizes plus a 10% discount on all purchases. Heritage members get a 20% discount.
December 25 6 am Jolotta
This is a candlelight non-denominational service in the Colony Church. Service is conducted in both English and Swedish. Coffee and rusks served after the service.
If you have never attended thee activities are a Christmas traditon that will help you understand the culture that settled there fro Sweden