Skip to content

Celebrating Santa Lucia in Stockholm

P1050682A crown of candles on a white-gowned girl brightens Sweden’s darkest days of winter and celebrates the early Christian martyr, Santa Lucia.

It’s not difficult to understand that during a long Scandinavian winter, the notion of light overcoming darkness and the promise of returning sunlight has been welcomed  for hundreds of years, and most likely in pagan times too. P1050678

Everyone in Sweden recognises 13 December as Santa Lucia day and listens to a Lucia and her attendants sing the customary song which describes how the Saint triumphed over the darkness and found light. Boys in white gowns carry little lanterns and wear tall paper cones on their heads and sometimes men dressed as chimney sweeps follow the procession, brushing away the darkness.

Lucia traditionally wears ‘light in her hair’, which is usually translated these days into a wreath of electric candles, but in one performance I watched a girl walking carefully while balancing the precarious ring of melting wax. Friends who have had the honour of being a Lucia describe the nightmare of removing melted wax from their long blonde hair for hours after their performance.

Other Lucia traditions include starting the day with rice porridge  – sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon –  and eating saffron buns and gingerbread.  It’s a happy day, a great warm-up to Christmas, and I’m still humming the Lucia song two days later.

Advertisements
6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Keep humming. It ought to carry you through much!

    December 15, 2014
  2. Beautiful, but gosh! I hope her hair doesn’t catch fire!!!

    December 15, 2014
    • It was great to hear beautiful voices and see such a simple tradition upheld.

      December 15, 2014
  3. What a beautiful ceremony:) Thanks for sharing the tradition!

    December 15, 2014

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: