Lucia in Sweden
December 13 is Lucia Day in Sweden. This is a tradition that entails white gowns, lit candles and children singing. Watch Swedish Lucia for Dummies below to find out how we do it.
Lucia Day – a feast of candlelit processions, saffron buns, mulled wine and talking animals. Here’s how to make the most of it.
December is here. If we are lucky, snow has fallen to brighten up the quickly darkening nights, creating that special Christmas feeling. At Christmas, we bring out our hand-crafted decorations, fill our homes with candlelight, and go back to our grandmother’s recipes to bake ginger snaps and saffron buns.
by Po Tidholm
Sweden is an egalitarian place these days, so any child can be chosen as Lucia for the annual procession at the local daycare centre, not just girls with long blonde hair. The boys usually prefer to be Santas (tomtar) or "star boys" (stjärngossar) in the procession, while quite a few girls agree to be Lucia's handmaidens (tärnor).
The Swedes are wholly into Christmas traditions but less so the holy origins of them. Yet, Saint Lucia, the star of Bethlehem, Advent candles and even the church remain sacred to the secular Swedes in December.
Swedes have long looked to their traditional Lucia festival to bring a bit of light into their lives amid the dark mid-winter days. And it seems that no matter where they go in the world, they take Lucia with them.