Saint Lucia’s Day Lights Up Sweden

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Today is the Swedish yuletide holiday Saint Lucia’s, or Saint Lucy’s, Day. The holiday that has roots in Sicily, where Saint Lucia lived and died a tragic martyr’s death around the year 310, on the 13th of December. For hundreds of years this date has been celebrated as her feast day, and though it is celebrated by many European countries, it is most often associated with Sweden due to their extravagant celebrations.

Saint Lucia is considered to be a representation of hope and light during the dark winters in Sweden, so the eldest daughter of a family transforms into a symbol of Lucia by wearing a white robe tied with a red bow at the waist, and a crown of fresh greens & lit candles. She’ll wake up her family at dawn and serve delicious Saint Lucia’s Day foods, such as Lucia buns, or Lussekatter. In many towns and cities, there are candlelit processions and performances of traditional Swedish Lucia songs. Some will even elect an official “Lucia” for the year.