Celebrating Lucia in Sweden

Dec 11, 2014

Tomorrow in Sweden we celebrate Lucia. Together with advent, this is a popular celebration and the harbinger of yuletide and the Christmas holidays. Held every year on December 13th, Lucia celebrations start early in the morning, very early for some, and continues throughout the day until late evening.

Traditional Swedish Lussekatter
(source: DollarPhotoClub.com)

Girls with cookies and crown of lights

If you visit Sweden on this very date, you are bound to witness Lucia processions throughout the day. Each procession is led by a young girl with a crown of lights; they used to be candles, but for practical reasons electric ones are more popular. The procession then includes Lucia girls and boy attendants. Their number vary but each one carries a candle or light in their hands. The name Lucia originates from the Latin lux or lucis and means “the light one”. They are the bearers of light, and this is possibly one reason why Lucia is so popular – in deep winter daylight is scarce, in the north of Sweden people have daylight for only around four hours every day, sometimes less.

The Lucia girls and boys are dressed in white and sing Christmas songs for everyone watching, including the Santa Lucia, which originates from Italy. They also bring Lussekatter ("Lucia buns" often made with saffron) and other traditional cookies with them for everyone to enjoy.

Lucia everywhere

At home, those with children will often have a mini procession in the morning to wake up dad and others. In schools, there are usually processions with volunteer pupils, and most companies, eldercare centers, hospitals and other public facilities arrange Lucia processions to put everyone in a festive mood. Some processions turn into concerts in churches and other public venues.

At idioma in Gothenburg, there is also an annual Lucia procession, however, this year because Lucia is on a Saturday, the procession was instead held on December 10, and the people there are now in a festive Christmas mood....so let's better get back to our translation and localization business :)