December 13, 2008
Sankta Lucia Day.
On the 13th of December, all over Scandinavia we celebrate the "Sankta Lucia Day", or "Saint Lucy's Day". It is a beloved tradition, which celebrates Saint Lucy of Syracuse, a young Christian martyr, who refused to marry a pagan and was consequently persecuted and sentenced to death by burning. However, the fire miraculously refused to take her. This is symbolically depicted each December in the Sankta Lucia processions, where a girl is selected to portrait the saint, wearing a white gown with a red sash and a crown of candles on her head. She walks ahead of an assembly of women, each holding a candle. Typically the women walk solemnly while singing a special "Santa Lucia song". These parades are common in schools and workplaces, plus there is always an official procession taking place and televised. At home, people have their own small gatherings and serve specially made "Lucia Saffron buns", called Lussekat in Sweden.