What Does Midwinter Have To Do With White Robes And Candles? It’s Swedish Lucia!

A standard Lucia procession. Photograph: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/imagebank.sweden.se

The annual candlelit Lucia procession on 13 December is probably one of many extra exotic-looking Swedish customs, with ladies and boys clad in white full-length robes singing songs collectively.

The true candles are actually typically changed with battery-powered ones, however there’s nonetheless a particular ambiance when the lights are dimmed and the sound of the kids singing grows as they enter from an adjoining room.

Custom has it that Lucia is to put on ‘gentle in her hair’, which in apply means a crown of electrical candles in a wreath on her head. Every of her handmaidens carries a candle, too. Dad and mom collect at the hours of darkness with their cellular cameras on the prepared.

The star boys, who just like the handmaidens are wearing white robes, carry stars on sticks and have tall paper cones on their heads. The Christmas elves carry up the rear, carrying small lanterns.

Who will get to be Lucia?

There was once a contest for the function of Lucia – on nationwide TV in addition to on an area stage in cities and faculties all around the nation. Native newspapers invited subscribers to vote for one or different of the candidates. At the moment, no nationwide ‘Lucia of Sweden’ is elected and faculties usually let probability resolve who’s to be Lucia, for instance by organising a draw.

Lucia − the bearer of sunshine

Alongside Midsummer, the Lucia celebrations characterize one of many foremost cultural traditions in Sweden, with their clear reference to life within the peasant communities of previous: darkness and light-weight, chilly and heat.

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Lucia is an historic legendary determine with an abiding function as a bearer of sunshine at the hours of darkness Swedish winters.

The various Lucia songs all have the identical theme:

The night time treads closely
round yards and dwellings
In locations unreached by solar,
the shadows brood
Into our darkish home she comes,
bearing lighted candles,
Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia.

Most Swedes know the usual Lucia tune by coronary heart and may sing it, in or out of tune. On the morning of Lucia Day, the radio performs some moderately extra knowledgeable renderings, by college choirs or the like.

The Lucia celebrations additionally embody ginger snaps and candy, saffron-flavoured buns (lussekatter) formed like curled-up cats and with raisin eyes. You eat them with Swedish mulled wine (glögg) or espresso.

Swedish Lucia – the origins

The Lucia custom will be traced again each to the martyr St Lucia of Syracuse (died in 304) and to the Swedish legend of Lucia as Adam’s first spouse. It’s mentioned that she consorted with the Satan and that her youngsters have been invisible infernals. The title could also be related to each lux (gentle) and Lucifer (Devil), and its origins are tough to find out.Extra concerning the origins of Lucia