As tradition says, December 13:th Swedes listen to Lucia and her friends singing the darkness away, spreading light to shine the way to Christmas.
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The celebration of Lucia on December 13, is probably one of the most Swedish of traditions. There are special songs for this day and every school and kindergarden has their own Lucia celebration.
Originally Lucia was a Saint from Syracuse, and how she became a Swedish tradition is a long story.
December 13th was told to be the darkest night of the year, and in the old believes people were afraid of all kinds of evil that might be sneaking around the house on a night like that. So they would stay up all night if possible, eat and drink, light candles and try to withhold the darkness. Then came Christianity and the old traditions had to be modified to suit the new believes. So we imported a Saint from Italy, who got to bear the tradition on her shoulders. Lucia has a crown of candles in her hair, and her maidens carries one candle each. Lucia often comes with a tray of coffee, gingerbread cookies and saffron buns. And most of all, she comes with the light and the knowledge that Christmas eve is eleven nights away.
Nowadays, Lucia comes with an entourage of maidens, Staffans (boys with cone hats with golden stars), ginger bread men (!), and a couple of Santas. Just writing this in English makes me realize how difficult this tradition is to describe in words. I guess you just have to come to Sweden for december 13 to experience the whole thing. It is a beautiful and a bit magic tradition and nothing beats a Lucia entourage at the kindergarden with a bunch of Lucias with plastic crowns all singing a bit out of tune.
We wish you a very happy Lucia, wherever you are!
“My idea of Christmas, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?”
I just LOVE this quote, it is so easy to get carried away with all the holiday preparations and forget that what really matters is our loved ones. What would Christmas be, if we would not have anyone to give presents to, nobody to share our meals with and noone to wish a happy Christmas?
There are so many lonely people out there, that don´t look forward to the holidays at all. This year we light our candles for them.
And I will hug my loved ones an extra time, being gratful for the greatest gift:
Friends and family!
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Kim is originally Danish with a Norwegian mother and Veronica is all Swedish. We live on the west coast of Sweden and run the design brand Born in Sweden with a true love to the all Scandinavian lifestyle.
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