Saturday, December 13, 2008

Santa Lucia Day


"During the cold months of winter in the far northern countries of Scandinavia, the light and warmth of the sun are felt and seen only a few hours each day, if at all. Through those cold, dark days candles glow in the village windows, reminding all that the light kindled in
homes and hearts cannot be darkened. Over the centuries the source of this light has been commemorated in a beloved Christmas tradition: the procession of Santa Lucia, queen of lights.
"On the 13th of December, a young woman dressed in a white gown and wearing a crown of lingonberry twigs and blazing candles, would carry a torch from farmhouse to farmhouse. To each family she would bring baked goods and warm conversation, before returning home by break of day. Every village had it's own Lucia.
In Norway and Sweden it is still the custom on December 13th for a young girl wearing candles on her head to lead the Santa Lucia procession of lights through the village. The light and hope she brings symbolizes a greater Light: the Light of Life, whose coming we celebrate this Christmas."

~~read by Sissel (famous Norwegian singer) at the 2006 Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert
(where she was the guest artist)


While some villages celebrate Santa Lucia day on a grander scale, many scandinavian families celebrate privately. The oldest daughter in the family would dress up early in the morning and bring saffron buns and coffee to the rest of the family as they awoke. I am the oldest daughter in a family of Scandinavian heritage, but I'm sorry to say we never did this tradition...I suspect it has to do with the fact that I was never the early riser of the family. ☺
Incidentally, most celebrators now use electric candles or even paper crowns (with paper candles) rather than actual flames...there were a few too many cases of girls catching their hair on fire!

2 comments:

Carrie said...

A good friend of mine is from Norway and when I asked about this tradition she said that mostly little children took the job of visiting the neighbors bringing treats to them and singing, particularly to the elderly. What a lovely tradition!

Kimberlee said...

That is very neat. I am an oldest daughter from Scandinavia heritage as well (on my Dad's side). But we never did that either.

What a neat celebration.

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