You may think that the celebrations of Christmas are the same all over the world but do not think so as there are many different ways of celebrating Christmas around the world. Today in our blog, we are going to highlight another important festival celebrated in the month of December and is a part of December’s global history. We are talking about the festival celebrated as St. Lucia Day which is celebrated in Scandinavia with full excitement and pomp.
The festival is celebrated for a young girl who died in the year 304 rather is considered a martyr. The day is officially celebrated on December 13 but allow us to shed some light on this occasion.
What is St. Lucia Day?
This day for the Scandinavian mark the starting of the Christmas season and honors the memory of Lucia. Lucia was killed by the authorities because she was accused of smuggling necessities like food and water to the Christians hiding in the tunnels below the city of Rome. The festival is celebrated to honor the memory of this brave girl and has been observed since 1764. There is also a Scandinavian legend surrounding the girl St. Lucia. St. Lucia day history also talks about the people of the country traveling with food on the night of December 13.
Places where St. Lucia day is celebrated
Although, majorly known as a Scandinavian festival the day is celebrated across many countries. On December 13 it includes in December Global Holiday, countries such as Sweden, Croatia, Finland, Denmark, Norway, and Bosnia celebrate it. A candle-lit procession is done in every town of the countries to remember St. Lucia and her good acts. A Swedish website describes the procession as “one of the most exotic Swedish customs.”
How do they celebrate St. Lucia?
While there are many other versions of the celebrations, there is a traditional style for all those who celebrate St. Lucia day. The procession is led by a little girl who wears a traditional white dress and cape with a red sash along with a crown made of candles. After her, ‘handmaidens’ and ‘star boys’ follow closely also attired in white gowns and holding sticks topped with stars. These girls and boys also adorn hats made of paper cones. Girls consider it an honor to be selected to portray the figure of St. Lucia. A website of Scandinavia says that the girl chosen as St. Lucia is considered a celebrity and often makes public appearances at various crowd gatherings. She also performs charitable work and visits hospitals to look after the injured and ill.
Every school and business is closed early on the day of the festival so that everyone gets the time to prepare for the processions. The procession starts at sunset with traditional songs sung by everyone. The parade is also a reminder of the past peasant communities who were saved by St. Lucia.
What is eaten on St. Lucia day?
Like every other Christian festival, there are some specific foods and snacks for St. Lucia day. There are many traditional foods served on the day and all of them vary in every other town. But, the traditional food for St. Lucia day is Lussekatts. This is a dish that consists of buns flavored with spices like saffron and decorated with nuts like raisins. This dish is then served with coffee or the Swedish mulled wine to every person. Children also hand out ginger snaps while they are in the procession to everyone.
This is how St. Lucia day is celebrated harmoniously by all the people of these countries in remembrance of the young soul of St. Lucia.