Santa Lucia Day

Santa Lucia Day

bringing a Swedish tradition to the states

By Polly Bibb

Santa Lucia Day is coming up.  In Sweden, the Swedes celebrate this day with a huge celebration.  Young girls wear a lit wreath of candles on their heads and young boys dress as “star boys.”  In the cathedrals, large services are held as Scandinavians gather together to celebrate with Christmas carols and a candlelit ceremony.

Early in the morning, Swedes dress like Santa Lucia and sing to their friends to wake them up.  Usually, they have a tasty treat to give their sleepy friend and then “Santa Lucia” is off to the next home to sing to her friends.  The special day happens to fall around the shortest day of the year, and in Scandinavia, the time that the day actually sees hours of sunlight are few.

I treasured those hours of sunlight, when I lived in Sweden.  I will never forget hoping on a bicycle with my roommate on the morning of Santa Lucia day.  I was dressed in a white dress, with a battery operated wreath of candles on my head.  My roommate was dressed as a “star boy.”  She was a good sport and let me be Santa Lucia.

Well, together we road into the dark and frigid morning to our friends.  We had pepper kakar cookies, which are delicious ginger snap like cookies.  As we arrived at each home, we sang to our friends, woke them up and gave them cookies.  I am not a morning person, but this was such a fun morning!

Now, I am planning on bringing this tradition back to the states.  We have so many cross-cultural traditions, why not add another!  So, on December 13, if you see a silly looking gal dressed in a white gown with candles on her head serenading in the early morning, you will know its Santa Lucia.  To read more about Santa Lucia and how she is remembered, click here.

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