Happy Saint Lucia or Sankta Lucia Day to all of you Swedes and Norwegians out there! For those of you not in the know about this particular celebration, this is the day people in Scandinavian countries celebrate the gift of light during some of the darkest days of the year.
Typically the oldest daughter of the house rises early in the morning, all dressed in white with a crown of candles on her head and wakes her parents with sweet rolls called Lussekatter. The rest of the children in the family follow in a small parade, boys included.
As a mother of boys I never was able to continue this tradition, but as child I participated in a Lucia pageant every year and by the time I was 16 years of age was allowed to lead the procession as a Lucia. Robed in a long linen gown, with a wide crimson sash, and a heavy towering crown of tall, lit candles on my head I walked down the darkened aisle of our Swedish church in front of hundreds of people. Heady, nerve wracking stuff for a 16 year old.
The beauty of the pageant, the long line of smaller girls all dressed in white gowns and tinsel sashes and crowns, followed by several small boys, (Star boys) is a sight to behold and is indelibly fixed in my childhood memories.
The celebration of Santa Lucia Day began when Sweden was largely a Catholic nation and while today much of Sweden and other parts of Scandinavia are mostly secular the tradition of bringing light to the dark continues.
Lucia Procession, photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
School children across Sweden and Norway today will participate with their school in pageants, many of them bringing Lussekatter to nursing homes and singing traditional songs.
If you are interested in making your own Lussekatter or just finding out more about this tradition there are two blogs that are definitely worth checking out.
While I was never able to have a Lucia procession with my own children I could not/cannot simply just let this day pass with out lighting my own candles, enjoying a Lussekatter and singing the Lucia song.
Happy Sankta Lucia Dagen and God Jul!