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!
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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