It is already the end of November and December is just around the corner. For many people December means the month of Christmas, New Years Eve, Visits to the Christmas markets or Saint Nicholas Day.
But in Sweden there is another important day: St. Lucy’s.
The St. Lucy’s Day happens every year at the 13th of December and is seen as a festival of light. As the shortest day in the year (based on the Julian Calendar) it is at the same time the day of the Winter Solstice. During the cold and long winter in Sweden there was definitely some need for more light and more celebration ;)!
The history of the Lucia festivities (the Swedish name of St. Lucy) dates back to even the mid-century, where rural population celebrated the end of the pre-Christmas agricultural work and the begin of the Christmas-fast. Lucia itself is one of the few saints celebrated by Lutheran Nordic people.
Today Lucia is celebrated within the family, schools and work. Traditionally, in every family the oldest daughter is chosen to be the Lucia, therefore dressing up in a white robe, a red band and coronal with candles. Aside from the choice of the Lucia most of the festivities include the eating of the traditional lussekatter (a saffron-based pastry) and the singing of Lucia-related songs.
So if you see people with white robes, lussekatter and candles walking around Stockholm on the 13th of December, it’s for a reason ;)!
See you next week!