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.


Hazel Designs said...

This sounds so neat! I wish I could see it! I've heard of celebrating St. Lucia before, mainly from Kristen, the American Girl doll - she comes with a St. Lucia outfit exactly as you described - white gown, red sash, candles around her head.

MsTypo said...

I love hearing about cool christmas traditions like this! It makes me miss the holiday season even more!

Keera Ann Fox said...

I don't know how Scandinavian a tradition it is. Norwegians view the tradition as a Swedish one. I gather from your post that it's also a Danish tradition.

I didn't grow up with the tradition at all here in Norway, but it's been introduced into our kindergartens in recent years so today's kids are familiar with it.

Betsy Brock said...

Hi...I popped over from Blog Princess! Had to see the Christmas mood from Denmark! :)

Michelle H. said...

So many traditions! I learn something new every time I visit!

Mahmud Yussop said...

Interesting story,well said.

Zuzana said...

Hazel, that sounds interesting, I never knew there was a doll dressed up as Sankta Lucia.;)

Cairo, I do understand that, as you have interest for other cultures and can appreciate other traditions, as you lead such an interesting life traveling the world.;)

Keera, I thought Norway celebrated Lucia too, at least the Wikipedia states that.;) Sweden for sure has this as a major tradition, while here in Denmark it is celebrated, but not in the extend as in Sweden, where I grew up.

Betsy, welcome! I am familiar with the comments you leave on BPG site.;) She has written such nice words about my posts, which leads others here, and that is wonderful.
Thank you so much for stopping by.;)

Michelle, right back at you, every time I stop by your place, it is an experience like no other:)

Mahmud, thank you.;))

Keera Ann Fox said...

Protege, here is the Norwegian wikipedia entry: It's all about the Swedish celebration and mentions the other Scandinavian countries in only one sentence. That's how new a phenomenon it is to us. Like Halloween, which is definitely a US holiday.