I grew up fairly connected to my Scandinavian heritage. My paternal grandfather was from Norway and my paternal grandmother was Swedish. Tomorrow, December 13th, is Santa Lucia Day in Sweden, an important day that celebrates light and the start of the Christmas season.
Santa Lucia Day is marked with a candlelight procession, traditional song, and traditional food. According to a Swedish cultural website, “alongside Midsummer, the Lucia celebrations represent one of the foremost cultural traditions in Sweden, with their clear reference to life in the peasant communities of old: darkness and light, cold and warmth.”
|Lucia leads the procession with her crown of candles|
The tradition calls for one lucky girl to be crowned Lucia. She wears a crown of greenery, illuminated with candles (battery operated ones), and leads the traditional procession. She is followed by handmaidens, star boys and brownies.
This picture is of me and my brother, probably ages 4 and 7, in a Santa Lucia pageant. I was a little handmaiden and he, a star boy, kept sticking his star in my face (brotherly love!)
In Sweden, while there are processions and pageants in town, smaller celebrations also happen in the home, when the eldest girl brings her parents Lussekatter (saffron bread) and coffee in bed.
|Traditional Lussekatter (click for recipe)|
As the day progresses, and throughout the holiday season, Swedes drink Glogg, a traditional mulled wine. (click for recipe)
|Swedish Glogg is a warm, spiced wine, great for cold nights|
I love these traditions and especially the idea of celebrating light and warmth in the cold, dark days of winter. And, with a Nor’easter en route to New England for the weekend, it could be a great time to celebrate in the Swedish tradition!