Swedish Lucia is an annual celebration dating back hundreds of years. It celebrates Sankta Lucia, the saint who is said to be the namesake of St Lucia of Syracuse, a martyr who died in 304 and the Swedish legend of Lucia as Adam’s first wife. This year, Lucia is on Wednesday 13th December.
According to old Swedish myths, Lucia Night was the longest night of the year when supernaturals would terrorise the countryside. A tradition in which people would sit up throughout the night watching over herds and flocks surrounded by light began. In the morning a feast would be provided to lift spirits and replenish stocks. St Lucia would appear at this feast baring light and song.
The “modern”, white clad Lucia only appeared in the early 20th Century and she has become a mythical figure who lights the way throughout dark, Swedish winters. St Lucia concerts, feasts and celebrations take place all over Sweden in churches, schools, pre-schools. The concerts follow a set of processions, traditional songs and readings. There is a beautiful family Lucia concert that takes place every year at Storkyrkan, in Gamla Stan. Perfectly suited for young families and those looking for an introduction to Lucia. You can buy tickets via this link, here.
Having the honour of representing St Lucia at one of these concerts is a BIG DEAL…think getting the ‘Mary’ gig in the Nativity play. On the downside of being Lucia, you’ll often have to stand for HOURS with a very heavy candelabra on your head, under searing heat and with hair full of dripping wax. Often, many of the Lucia’s faint or collapse under the strain of their performance.
Sweden.se has produced a brilliant video called “Swedish Lucia for Dummies”:
If you want to really get into the spirit of the Luciatåg there are some classic Swedish songs that you HAVE to know. Happily, we’ve done the hard work for you and below are a 4 classic Swedish songs that are sung at Förskola, Lucia concerts and pretty much anywhere in Sweden on Luciamorgon.