Sunday, December 12, 2010

Today is Lucia in Sweden

Today is the 13th of December and in Sweden and Scandinavia it is a special day as we celebrate Saint Lucia. It is the celebration of light and light is exactly what is needed the most here at this time of the year. In traditional celebrations, Saint Lucy comes as a young woman with lights and sweets. It is one of the few saint days observed in Scandinavia. In some forms, a procession is headed by one girl wearing a crown of candles, while others in the procession hold only a single candle each. In Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Norway, and Finland, Lucy (called Lucia) it is venerated on December 13 in a ceremony where a girl is elected to portray Lucia. Wearing a white gown with a red sash and a crown of candles on her head, she walks at the head of a procession of women, each holding a candle. The candles symbolize the fire that refused to take St. Lucia's life when she was sentenced to be burned. The women sing a Lucia song while entering the room, to the melody of the traditional Neapolitan song Santa Lucia; the Italian lyrics describe the view from Santa Lucia in Naples, the various Scandinavian lyrics are fashioned for the occasion, describing the light with which Lucia overcomes the darkness. Each Scandinavian country has lyrics in their native tongues. After finishing this song, the procession sings Christmas carols or more songs about Lucia. A similar version occurs in Scandinavian communities and churches in the United States.

The modern tradition of having public processions in the Swedish cities started in 1927 when a newspaper in Stockholm elected an official Lucia for Stockholm that year. The initiative was then followed around the country through the local press. Today most cities in Sweden appoint a Lucia every year. Schools elect a Lucia and her maids among the students and a national Lucia is elected on national television from regional winners. The regional Lucias will visit shopping malls, old people's homes and churches, singing and handing out pepparkakor(gingerbread).



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Pictures from the internet.

It is Lucia and Midsummer that are the two most traditional Swedish traditions.

Picture from the internet.

A traditional sweet bun baked with saffron is served on this particular day and is here kalled a “Lussekatt”. But they are eaten all through December and not just on this particular day. I baked some this year too. We usually eat them also for each Sunday in December leading up to Christmas eve on the so called “advent Sundays”.

This is what the sweet saffron buns look like. They are also traditionally decorated with rasins. This is a picture of the ones that I baked this year. Happy Sankta Lucia to you all.

Picture from the internet and also the song and picture below is from the internet.

5 comments:

Monica said...

Vad fint du skrivit och beskrivit Luciafirandet. Idag tyckte jag mer om det än på många år och vi behöver allt ljus vi kan få på många sätt i allt mörker. Och de är så duktiga alla som arrangerar och går upp i ottan för att glädja oss:-), att göra något positivt för andra.

Saltistjejen said...

Vad bra du skrivit och fina bilder! Jag saknar verkligen Lucia. Det är inte alls ngn Luciastämning här Men är glad över att vi kunde gå på Luciakonserten i lördags! :-)
kram!

Annika said...

Nog är detta den dagen jag saknar mest. Misommaren kan jag undvara, men lucia...
Det är ngt så speciellt med den tidiga morgonen, pirret, sången, mörkret, skönheten, musiken, mystiken.
SAKNAR!!
SOm jag skulle önska att vi hade ngt liknande i US.
Men, det har vi inte.
Jättefina bilder, den sista, med texten, är ju super!!!
KRAM!!

Marie said...

Åh, det är så fint med Lucia! Jag hade chans att gå på lussetåg här i München men vi glömde bort det! Riktig osis...

Desiree said...

Monica, absolut man behöver allt ljus man kan få och det är jättekul att det är så många som är måna om att hålla denna fina tradition vid liv.
Kram!

Saltis, tack. Ja ni fick ju faktiskt chansen att få lite lussefirande. Jag fick tyvärr inte se någon lucia igår men det får jag väl hoppas på till nästa år istället.
Kram!

Annika, ja vissa dagar som Lucia går liksom inte att få till om man inte befinner sig i Sverige. Jag skulle gärna vilja vara med om ett stämningsfullt Lucia så som Marianne var med om igår. Tidig morgon i en kyrka.
Kram!

Marie, du får satsa på det till nästa år kanske och ha blueberry med dig :-)
Kram!