St. Lucia Day
Celebrated annually in December, this historic custom is an atmospheric event involving Christmassy treats and a singing line-up of candle-carrying characters dressed (mostly) in white gowns. These tuneful “Luciatåg” processions – led by Lucia herself – play out on national TV and in kindergartens, schools, care homes, churches and offices across the country. Waiting in anticipation, the audience’s first sign that Lucia and her posse are nearing is a mellow chorus approaching from the distance, followed by soft light cutting through the pre-dawn darkness.
Lucia Day can be traced back to the 4th century. A Christian feast day, it commemorates the martyr Lucia of Syracuse, who, as legend has it, brought food to Christians hiding in Roman catacombs, lighting her way with a candlelit wreath on her head.
The 13 December was the historic Julian calendar’s shortest day, and according to Swedish folklore, the long night was dangerous, with dark spirits out in force. Staying awake was paramount, and eating helped – another connection to the small feast associated with today’s Lucia celebration. Lucia made her first recorded appearance in a Swedish rural home in 1764, but the custom really established itself in the 1900s.
As we get closer to the date it will be more clear what the guidelines will be for a safe celebration. We will keep you updated as the plans take form. A number of online events are in the making and we will be sure to share them with you. Keep an eye on this space.