Luna's Lucia celebration

Luna brings a new christmas tradition to Hogwarts.

'I can't believe we are doing this' Ron moaned. 'I look like an utter git.'

'Yes you do' Harry agreed, grining. Ron shot him a sour look.

'You just wait until you put that stupid cone on and we will see how gitty you look... and that goes for you too Neville. Stop that silly sniggering.'

'No arguing' Hermione warned them. Just like the boys she was dressed in a white robe, going all the way down to her feet. Unlike the boys she had a glitteirng string tied round her waist and her bushy brown hair was crowned by a wreath made of twigs and red ribbon. In her hand she held a candle. Ginny was dressed in the same fashion.

'Honestly Hermione' Ron said, a pleading look in his eyes. 'Why are we doing this? We are going to make fools out of ourselves in front of the whole school. What is the big point?' She did not answer him. She only regarded him in silence, one eyebrow slightly rised. When he looked around, Ron realized that the others were looking at him in the same fashion. He cringed.

'All right, all right' he muttered. 'We are doing this to make Luna happy, all right. I just want to know why I have to wear this idiotic outfit.'

He had a point, the couldn't deny that. Ron, Harry and Neville were dressed in plain white robes. On their heads where large white cones decorated with stars. Each of them held a stick with a large golden star stuck to the end. They slightly resembled a very bad drawn muggle picture of wizards. And they did look very silly indeed.

'That is... er... traditional' Hermione explained, quite lamely. 'The... star-boys are supposed to symbolize the christmas-star and the... lucia-maidens are supposed to... well, I don't really know what we are supposed to symbolize, but that is traditional anyway. They have done it in Sweden for hundreds of years.'

'Yeah? They eat rotten fish in Sweden as well, but I can't see us doing it here.' Ron retorted.

Ginny, who had quite unsucessfully tried to keep herself from laughing the last few minutes finally lost it and fell to the floor, howling with mirth. Neville rushed forward and managed to get her candle before it fell to the floor. Ron kicked his little sister gently in the ribs.

'Hey, sis. Get up. Your traditional maid-robe is getting dirty.'

This of course only made her laugh even more badly.

'Well' Ron sighed, putting on a mocked apologetic face. 'She flipped, finally. As an older and better Weasley I do apologize most profoundly for my sister being insane as a bottle of butterbeer and any inconvieniencies caused thereby.' Harry and Neville smirked, and Hermione made only a half-hearted attempt to conceal her grin. Ron bent forward, talking to his still madly laughing sister with that loud, slow voice used for children and fools.

'Come on, Ginny. Let us go to the nice people at St Mungos. You will get a nice, soft room to play in and a funny robe with sleeves you can tie together. It will be very nice for you.' He reached out to help her up, but was interupted by the unmistakable dreamy voice of Luna, comming from behind him.

'I would not do that. Crotsnots can transmit with touch, you know.'

He turned around, a reply on his lips, but it died out when he saw her. Even Ginny stopped laughing to stare at her friends apperance. Luna was dressed in the same white robe as the rest of them, but the ribbon round her waist was red. On her head she wore a metal crown, holding a large number of candles, each burning with a bright flame.

'Luna, do you know that you are on fire?' Neville asked cationusly, being the first of the friends able to form words again. Luna gave him a distracted look.

'No?' she said with polite interest.

'Er... you ARE on fire' Neville tried. Luna nodded.

'That is observant of you. Thank you very much.' and she bent forward towards Ginny who was sitting up on the floor, trying to straighten her wreath. Harry and Neville both rushed forward, prepared to catch Luna's candles should they fall, but miracolousy they stayed on her head. Attentively Luna stared into Ginny's eyes.

'What?' Ginny asked, a bit taken aback about the sudden intimancy from her friend. Luna held the gaze for a few seconds, then nodded contently.

'The Crotsnots are gone now' she said. 'It should be perfectly safe for you to help Ginevra to her feet again, Ronald.'

'What are Crotsnots?' The siblings asked simultanously as Ginny took hold of Ron's outstretched hand and allowed him to help her up.

'They are tiny creatures, related to bedbugs and dandruff' Luna explained. 'They are quite nasty, really, hatching in peoples brain and driving them insane. But you can drive them off by thinking happy thoughts. You should think some extra happy things right now, Ronald, just to be sure.' Ron shot Luna a suspicious glance.

'Say, Luna?' he asked slowly. 'You are not making fun of me, are you?' She met his gaze, her big, unblinking eyes calmly locked to his.

'Of course not Ronald. But should I? I am sure I can think of something if you want me to.' He kept staring at her for a few moments, but then he gave up. He had never been able to understand what was going on inside those silvery orbs.

'No thanks, it's ok.' he said, sighing. 'But if you ever do make fun of me, please tell me because I will never be able to tell by myself.' Luna nodded serenely.

'I promise.'

'The great hall is getting crowded' Hermine reported from the door. 'I think we should get going before people starts to leave.'

'Is Malfoy there yet?' Ron asked. Hermione shot him a questioning glance.

'Yes, he talks to Goyle right now. Why?'

'Oh, we don't want him to miss us being the ultimate laugh of the school, do we?' Ron asked with an ironic voice. Hermione opened her mouth to deliver a snappy reply, but Luna spook first.

'Actually, Draco was very interested in the Lucia celebration. He, Vincent and Gregory will join us as starboys.' They stared at her, unbelievingly. Ron's mouth was moving soundlessly as he tried to make sence of what she had just said.

'Now I am making fun of you' Luna said after a little while, her face and voice still not giving away anything but absolut honesty and serinity. Harry started to laugh.

'Luna, please tell me to if you ever make fun of me too. You are all to good at it.'

'Thank you Harry' she answered. 'I will not make fun of you without you knowing.'

'So Malfoy and his cronies will not join us then?' Ron asked, anxious to have that fact settled for good. Luna shook her head.

'I am afraid not. But if you want to I could ask them.'

'What are you supposed to symbolize?' Neville interupted, curiously taking in Luna's percurilar dress - and keeping an eye on the candles on her head. A trickle of stearin was slowly floating down to the top of her head where it coagulated in her hair. Neville winched when he thought of how hard - not to mention painful - it would be to remove it without taking away half of her hair as well, but Luna did not seem to notice.

'I am Lucia' she said, seemingly a bit pleased with that fact. Neville glanced at Hermione, who picked up the hint and started to talk with her lecturing voice again.

'Lucia was an Sicillian saint from... well, early middle ages I think. She was killed by being stabbed in the chest for not wanting to get married, thus the red ribbon which symbolizes the blood. And she poked out her own eyes to give them to the man she loved... er...' her voice trailed off. The others kept listening attentively.

'She was killed beacuse she did not want to get married?' Harry asked after a little while, 'But before that she gave her eyes to a man she loved?'

'Sure, it's a big sacrifice and all' Ginny mused 'but for a love gift it is kind of gross.'

'Yeah' smirked Ron. 'Couldn't she think of a body part he would rather have recieved... Ouch, I was just kidding.'

'Hang on' Neville said, giving Hermione a confused look. 'She become a martyr to keep herself unmarried. What has that to do with the "bringing-the-light"-stuff of the star-boys and maidens?' Hermione sighed and shook her head in frustration.

'Listen, I did not make up this tradition. Don't blame me if it doesn't make sense.'

'Lucia is the bringer of the light' Luna said with soft voice, making them all listen. 'She comes at the darkest of nights to promise the people that the sun will come back, that the spring will relieve them from the graps of winter and that there will be something for them and their children to eat also next year. Lucia and her maidens bring the fire and the warmth. The star boys bring the heavenly light and the promise of christmas peace. In the old days, Lucia was celebrated when slaugther was done and when the larder was filled. This day everyone could eat as much as they wanted, in a kind of foretaste of the big christmas feast a few weeks later. I think its nice, really.'

She silenced and again they could do nothing but stare at her, contemplaiting what she had just said. Again it was Neville who spoke first.

'Oh!' was all he said. The others nodded. That said it all, really.

'Let us go' Luna said with an uncharicteristic hint of excitment in her voice. 'I will lead the procession, then comes the maidens and last the star boys.'

They arranged themselves as she had instructed and made sure cones and stars, wreaths and candles were in order. Luna, who did not have a candle, simply put her palms together with her fingers upwards. Harry and Ron exchanged a glance of purest dread, and they walk into the great hall. Luna started to sing the song she had taught them in her shrill sopran voice. The others followed as well as they could.

Nightly, go heavy hearts
Round farm and steading
On earth, where sun departs,
shadows are spreading.
Then on our darkest night,
Comes with her shining light
Sankta Lucia! Sankta Lucia!
Then on our darkest night,
Comes with her shining light
Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia.

As they entered the great hall they could hear how the anitpaciated first few moments of shockwas followed by a steady increasingly whispering. Here and there occasional outburst of laughter was followed by hushing voices. They walked slowly in procession, matching the slow tune of the song, in between the house tables and towards the staff.

Night-darkling, huge and still.
Hark! something's stirring!
In all our silent rooms,
Wingbeats are whisp'ring!
Stands on our threshold there,
White clad, lights in her hair,
Sankta Lucia! Sankta Lucia!
Stands on our threshold there,
White clad, lights in her hair,
Sankta Lucia! Sankta Lucia!

The expected outburst of laughter was growing increasingly lauder, worst of course form the Slytherin table where Malfoy's high pitched giggles could be easily deteced. But suddenly they silenced abruptly. Harry, who had been looking straight on Ron's cone and refused to meet the eyes of their audience, dared a glance in that direction. The Slytherins were seemingly still laguhing at them, but they did so in silence. A movement in the corner of his eye caught his attention, and he saw Dumbeldore at the staff table pocket his wand and suddenly Harry had a very good guess who had silenced the students. The only sound now heard in the room was their song.

Darkness shall fly away
Through earthly portals!
She brings such wonderful
words to us mortals!
"Daylight, again renewed,
will rise, all rosy-hued!"
Sankta Lucia! Sankta Lucia!
"Daylight, again renewed,
will rise, all rosy-hued!"
Sankta Lucia! Sankta Lucia!

Ron and Harry had by now hopelessly lost themselves in the song, not remembering neither text nor tune. But Neville was still keeping up, adding bass to the girls voices. They had now passed the staff table and were walking back towards the door, taking the rout by the Hufflepuff table. Harry looked around again. Most of the staff had that slighty amused, slighty touched, warm glance adults often have in their eyes when youngsters do something cute. Dumbeldore of course sat smiling with his whole bearded face, a twinkle in his eyes. Only Snape did look downright annoyed over the interruption in his breakfast. But also the students seemed to enjoy themselves. A few of them were silently humming with the song, a fair number looked downright confused and one or two kept eating without taking any notice of the singing procession. But many actually were sitting in silence, smiling at them and seemingly being caught by the spirit of the tradition.

When the song had ended they were just a few steps away from the doors and the awaiting freedom from having every eye in the school on them. Eagerly Harry tried to walk faster, but Luna was still proceeding in the same, slow phase. The school watched them in silence.

'Now, Dobby' Luna said with low voice as she walked out through the door, and suddenly big plates appered on the tables, filled by ginger biscuits and soft saffron buns.

The great hall exploded with the applauds of the school.

I am not kidding. We actually do this in Sweden. The thirteenth of december every school, nursery, town square and company coffe room is subject to a singing procession in celebration of a saint we officially ceased to believe in four hundred years ago. Quite fun, huh? ;-)