Bishop Hill’s annual Lucia Nights celebration is set for Dec. 8 and 9 (Friday and Saturday).

Bishop Hill’s annual Lucia Nights celebration is set for Dec. 8 and 9 (Friday and Saturday). 

This Swedish tradition is based on a legend of Saint Lucia, Queen of Light. Girls in Sweden today wake their families on Dec. 13 carrying a tray of Lucia buns while dressed in a white robe and wearing a crown of candles. 

Lucia Nights begins in Bishop Hill with the Lighting of the Park Christmas tree at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8. The public is invited to bring edible ornaments to hang on the tree. 

Evening attractions include free musical performances in various locations in town. Businesses and museums will have a Lucia girl serving cookies. 

Around the village, each building will have a single candle in each window, and sidewalks will be illuminated. 

Restaurants are open both evenings, and special Christmas gifts will also be on sale. 

On both Friday and Saturday evenings, Bishop Hill will be hosting a wide variety of activities. 

At the Fire Station, the Peoria Cooperative Academy Madrigal Singers will perform at 6:30 p.m. each night, followed by Jazz on the Side. 

The VASA National Archives will have a closing reception for their exhibits, with storyteller Brian “Fox” Ellis sharing traditional Swedish and Pioneer Christmas stories the first night and the Peoria Prairie Tellers sharing stories on the second night. 

At the Steeple Building Museum, Hammer and Pick will be playing a variety of Christmas and folk music. 

In addition, the Bishop Hill Community United Methodist Church will host the annual Soup and Chili Supper beginning at 4 p.m. A free-will donation is appreciated to cover the cost of the meal. 

Also Saturday only beginning at 7 p.m., there will be an Old Fashioned Barn Dance at the Colony School. The Rusty Pickup String Band will be performing. All dances are taught and called by Gail Hintze and Jim Hicks. Admission is $5 per person, and beginners are welcome. No partner is necessary. 

For more information on Lucia Nights, call (309) 927-3899 or visit www.bishophill. com. 

Lucia Nights is sponsored by the Bishop Hill Arts Council, Bishop Hill Heritage Association, Bishop Hill State Historic Site, Old Settler’s Association. VASA National Archives, Bishop Hill Volunteer Fire Department, and numerous local businesses. 

The event is also partly funded by grants from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation.