Wednesday 14 December 2011

Lucia in Sweden

On the 13th of December every year we celebrate Lucia here in Sweden. It is a celebration filled with emotional tradition. I myself always get tears in my eyes when I see the procession and hear the songs. It is so beautiful and special. It really puts me in the pre-spirit of Christmas. The film above is filmed at my children's school yesterday morning. It was my daughter's year's turn to do the procession this year.

The rascal bunch with my daughter Arabella, furthest to the left.

Here's some information on Lucia that I have picked from Wikipedia
Saint Lucia's Day is the Church feast day dedicated to St. Lucy and is observed on the 13th of December. Its celebration is generally associated with Sweden and Norway, but is also observed in Denmark, Finland, and sometimes in a few other countries.

In the United States it is celebrated with cookies on the mantel in states with a large number of people of Scandinavian ancestry, often centered around church events.

In traditional celebrations, Saint Lucy comes as a young woman with lights and sweets. It is one of the few saint days observed in Scandinavia.

The current tradition of having a white-dressed woman with candles in her hair appearing on the morning of the Lucia day started in the late 18th century.

The modern tradition of having public processions in the Swedish cities started in 1927 when a newspaper in Stockholm elected an official Lucia for Stockholm that year. The initiative was then followed around the country through the local press. Today most cities in Sweden appoint a Lucia every year.
Schools elect a Lucia and her maids among the students and a national Lucia is elected on national television from regional winners. The regional Lucias will visit shopping malls, old people's homes and churches, singing and handing out pepparkakor (gingerbread).

Boys take part in the procession as well, playing different roles associated with Christmas. Some may be dressed in the same kind of white robe, but with a cone-shaped hat decorated with golden stars, called stjärngossar (star boys); some may be dressed up as tomtenissar (Santa's little helper), carrying lanterns; and some may be dressed up as gingerbread men.
A traditional kind of bun, Lussekatt (St. Lucia Bun), made with saffron, is normally eaten on this day.

Although St. Lucia's Day is not an official holiday in Sweden, it is a very popular occasion in Sweden.

Hope this has helped you to get in the Christmas spirit as much as I am now.

All my best,


Sally Anderson said...

My daughter was born on December 13th and has always had a real affinity for all things Lucia! She even has a tattoo on her back of the crown of candles. I'll send her this awesome post! Merry Christmas, Malin!

Malin de Koning said...

Fantastic Sally! Merry Christmas to you too! And to your daughter :-)

TesoriTrovati said...

How fun to learn of this holiday from someone who has lived it! I have heard of St Lucia day but never really knew much about it. Your daugther and her friends are adorable. What a great Christmas memory! Enjoy the day, Miss Malin!

Barbara said...

Thank you for sharing Malin...I don't think I would've made the corelation without seeing the video but when I was small, we each had a very special ornament that my mother had purchased from someone who made very detailed ornaments from salt dough. I think now that my sister's ornament was St. Lucia. I always assumed it was an angel but she had no wings and was holding a candle. Now I now!

Alice said...

While I'm half Swedish and have heard of St. Lucia, I never really knew much about this tradition. When my mother was young they celebrated this holiday in our church and chose a St. Lucia each year. I wish they would bring this tradition back. It sounds lovely!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Malin for sharing this information about St Lucia. I've always been fascinated by the beauty of the tradition. Here is a beautiful painting by Carl Larsson, 1908. (I'm sure you have seen it.) But, I like this image of the candlelight and the girl's selflessness in helping others in need. Perfect for the Christmas spirit.

God Jul!

Mary Harding said...

Delightful. Thanks so much for sharing this Malin. Happy Holidays!!

steufel said...

Its great to here of other traditions, although I've heard of St. Lucia, I didn't know much about the celebration. So thanks for sharing.

Leigh said...

What a beautiful tradition. Being in the U.S. I have only a cursory knowledge of this celebration. Thank you for the explanation. Also, I love your daughter's name!