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Lucia Day

Saint Lucia Day in Sweden

St Lucia performance by the Swedish Church in New York Dec 2006

Lucia Day -- or St. Lucy's Day -- ranks importantly on the Swedish calendar. It honors a young Christian girl, martyred in ancient Rome, who is always portrayed with her head encircled by a halo of lights. Though not officially part of Advent, for many Swedes Lucia Day forms the gateway to the Christmas season.

St. Lucy

For over 1,000 years, Christians in Scandinavia have celebrated St. Lucy, symbolizing both the enduring spiritual light of faith and the return of the sun's physical light.

The current Lucia Day tradition began over 100 years ago in Sweden’s wealthier farming districts and has spread through much of Scandinavia.

Originally, one young maiden in each village, wearing white gown with red sash and carrying a torch, would venture out into the cold night to bring food and drink to all the surrounding households, returning home by daybreak. This custom honors the numerous visions of St. Lucy, head aglow with candles, as she accompanied the mysterious arrival of grain and food in famine-wracked villages, just when all appeared lost. Vasa Order of America.


Lucy means “light.” Lucina is the Sabine goddess of Light, who was often pictured holding a plate of cakes (later mistaken for eyeballs) and a lamp. She was later absorbed into an aspect of Juno, Juno Lucina, who is goddess of childbirth, bringing children to light. Since Lucy's day falls right before (or, before the calendar change, upon) the winter solstice, she can be seen as the midwife of the miraculous sun-child who is born at Yule.
School of the Seasons

Little Yule

Before dawn on December 13, “Little Yule,” the eldest daughter of a Scandinavian household arises and sets a wreath of greenery upon her head to which are anchored several candles. With these all ablaze in the pre-dawn dimness she walks the corridors, calling on each bedroom with a gift of hot coffee, lussekatter (“Lucy kats,” yeast rolls) and gingerbread. She is the Lucia bruden, the Lucia Bride, Saint Lucy.

'Tis the year's midnight, and it is the day's,
Lucy's, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks ;
    The sun is spent, and now his flasks
    Send forth light squibs, no constant rays.
-- John Donne


To celebrate,  decorate your table with a centerpiece designed to resemble Lucy's crown: affix seven candle holders to a circle of evergreens and insert white tapers. Lucia Day has light as its central theme. Serve your favorite brunch or tea fare along with julglögg (a Swedish mulled wine), a cake called Saint Lucy's crown, X-shaped buns called lussekattor and ginger cookies called luciapepparkakor.


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Home for Christmas
Home for Christmas
Anne Sofie von Otter 
Sankta Lucia 

Saint Lucy Medal
Saint Lucy Medal

Family Snowflake Pajamas
Family Matching Snowflake Pajamas

St. Lucy's Day Giclee Print
St. Lucy's Day Print
Advent Wreath
Advent Wreath

Personalized Christmas Stockings
Personalized Christmas Stockings

Cascade Wreath

Evergreen Ornament
Christmas Ornaments

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