Sankta Lucia December 13th

Lucia − the bearer of light

Alongside Midsummer, the Lucia celebrations represent one of the foremost cultural traditions in Sweden, with their clear reference to life in the peasant communities of old: darkness and light, cold and warmth.

Lucia is an ancient mythical figure with an abiding role as a bearer of light in the dark Swedish winters.

The many Lucia songs all have the same theme:

The night treads heavily
around yards and dwellings
In places unreached by sun,
the shadows brood
Into our dark house she comes,
bearing lighted candles,
Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia.

All Swedes know the standard Lucia song by heart, and everyone can sing it, in or out of tune. On the morning of Lucia Day, the radio plays some rather more expert renderings, by school choirs or the like.

The Lucia celebrations also include ginger snaps and sweet,  lussekatter (saffron flavored buns) shaped like curled-up cats and with raisin eyes. You eat them with glogg or coffee.

Swedish-Lussekatter-Saffron-Buns-0054.21

Want to know more about the tradition?

2 thoughts on “Sankta Lucia December 13th”

  1. I recall as a boy attending a Swedish Lutheran Church in Michigan where our youth choir would put on a St. Lucia concert. We would vote on a girl to wear a real candle wreath. It was a very big event! (Later, the elders felt it was too dangerous to have candles and they went to electric candles…argh!) Afterwards the Pastor of the church cancelled the event as he said it was pagan.

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