Friday, 13 December 2019

December 13 - Friday - St Lucy's Day

From Lund Cathedral (Skåne, Sweden)

On 13th December here in Scandiavia we celebrate Lucia or St. Lucy's Day; a festival of light which in the past coincided with the Winter Solstice.

Lucia is celebrated in both private and public contexts. In most towns in Sweden, an official Lucia with a number of maids are elected at the beginning of December. They then spend 2-3 weeks visiting public places like hospitals and nursing homes, singing traditional Lucia songs and Christmas carols. Churches and schools and workplaces etc often have their own Lucia celebrations on the 13th of December as well.

Classic Lucia illustration by Jenny Nyström (1854-1946)
(God Jul = Merry Christmas)

St Lucy was a 3rd century martyr in Rome. According to legend she brought food and aid to persecuted Christians hiding in the catacombs, wearing a candle-lit wreath to light her way and leaving her hands free to carry as much food as possible. Nowadays she brings coffee and saffron buns and ginger biscuits - early in the morning while it is still dark.

(If you write Lucia into the search box on top of my blog, it will bring up more Lucia posts of mine from years gone by.)


  1. It is a wonderful tradition! Giving, caring, and light. Do you think the story is true? Do you think she really existed? It would be nice to think so.

    1. Ginny - Lucia of Syracuse (283–304), also known as Saint Lucy or Saint Lucia, was a real person and a Christian martyr, and recognized as a saint by the church. Whether the details of every legend about her are true, I dare not say! My guess is that our present day version of her probably reflects the real person as much as Santa Claus resembles the original Saint Nicholaus of Myra... ;)

  2. I remember your post that showed young girls walking with real candles on their heads and I commented about it way back when... lovely window in the photo...God Jul Monica

  3. There is a moving simplicity about the top photo.

    1. Thanks Graham, that was the feeling I was trying to capture :) And I chose it for today because somehow I feel a bit like that about St Lucy's day too, compared to much of all the other stuff going on in December.

  4. i like how she helped persecuted people, there's not enough of that these days.

  5. I like how St. Lucia is still celebrated so much in Sweden. My friend wrote a children's book about her.


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