Today, December 13 is a very important day of the Swedish Advent season. It is St:a Lucia day today. People try to escape the cold and dark days before Christmas and celebrate Saint Lucia, a martyr under the persecution of Christians in the Roman empire who brought food and aid to people hiding in the catacombs. To carry even more food, St:a Lucia wore the candles to light up the way on her head. And that is what her name translates to: light. So far the legend.

St:a Lucia in Sweden

Nowadays St:a Lucia is celebrated mainly in Italy and Scandinavia as the  patron of light in the dark days. In Sweden even before December 13 it is almost impossible not to attend at least one St:a Lucia session. People listen to wonderful choir music while enjoying Glögg and the pastries of Christmas: Lussekatter (make sure to click on the link, a recipe hides behind it!). The singers dress up in white clothes while Lucia also wears candles in her hair. Children dress up as tomte (santa), stjärngubbe (star boy) or pepparkaksgubbe (gingerbread boy).

The video above shows a Lucia performance of the Kungliga Teknologkören, the student choir of KTH while the following video of the Swedish Institute summarizes “Lucia for Dummies”. Happy Lucia to everyone!