• Linda Hasselbalch

The beautiful tradition of Lucia

Saint Lucy's Day, December 13th.

One of the Scandinavian Christmas traditions that touch me the most is 'Santa Lucia,' or 'Saint Lucy's day,' which is today, December 13.

The celebration of Saint Lucy is old and the word Lucia can be traced back to the latin word "lux," meaning "light". A crown of lit candles is seen on the head of a girl participating in Lucia processions across Scandinavia on this day! The celebration of Saint Lucy's Day helps one live the winter days with enough light, it is believed. So if you read my recent blogs mentioning candle lights, you will see the connection to candle lights in winter.

On this day, you will find processions in schools, churches, nursing homes, etc. of girls (nowadays boys as well!), dressed in long white gowns, walking with candles (yes, I mean lit candles, no less!) in their hands while singing this beautiful - almost meditative - Swedish carol. The first one in the procession, the Lucia bride, is the one wearing thecrown of candles on her head. I see electrical lights being used, for safety reasons obviously, more and more, and they still look magnificent.

Here you can see and listen to the procession in the cathedral of Lund (in south Sweden) from this morning:

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