St. Lucia celebrations

The 13th of December it’s not just another day in Sweden! Oh no! It’s Sankta Lucia’s Day (Saint Lucy or just Lucia). This is an annual feast day which dates back to more than 100 years before our time. Though not being an official holiday, many institutions celebrate it and it’s an important tradition in the Swedish society.

The origins of Santa Lucia for Swedes are in Syracuse, Italy, but the celebration it’s seen as having both pagan and Christian roots. Traditionally, it’s celebrated on the 13th of December every year, but festivities go on some days before an after the 13th.

In what is the darkest period of the year in Sweden, the Lucia celebration is all about the light. Usually St. Lucia is represented by a young girl dressed in a white gown, having a couple of candles on her head. She’s followed in the ceremony by boys with stars, Santa Claus or the gingerbread man.

Around this period of the year the saffron buns become popular. Also, the fika time is now also filled with gingerbread cookies or the famous glögg (mulled-wine) mixed with bleached almonds and raisins.

If you are in Stockholm the coming days, here are some popular places where you can go and see the Lucia celebration. Bear in mind, Lucia can be seen even in schools, smaller churches, offices or homes. So don’t miss the chance to experience this so important Swedish tradition.

Adolf Fredrik Church, 10th, 11th and 13th of December.
City Hall, 16th and 17th of December.
Skansen, 10th, 11th and 13th of December.
Nordic Museum, 11th of December.
Oscar’s Church, 11th and 13th of December.
St. Jacobs Church, 11th, 12th and 13th of December.
Stockholm Cathedral, 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th of December

In the end, we will leave you with a clip from the Lucia celebrations which took place in 2009 in the Stockholm Cathedral.

Text: Ionut @ stoRy touRs
Photo: AntiquesDiva