Lucia is a tradition that’s always been a part of my life. Every school in Sweden celebrates Lucia and every school arranges a Lucia train where one girl gets selected as the Lucia throughout lottery (not in preschool but in elementary and high school). Apart from the Lucia in the train there’s also a lot of “tärnor” which is girls, but they don’t have the crown like Lucia does, just tinsel in their hair and one candle in their hands and both Lucia and “tärnorna” wear white gowns. The boys dresses up like elves and gingerbread boys and as “stjärngossar” star boys. And then everyone walks in a long train and finally they stop in front of the audience and sings typical Christmas carols. The lucia has either real candles or electronic candles in her hair.
The day before Lucia we have something called “lussevaka”. During the night of “lussevaka” you stay up all night and bake saffron buns and drink “glögg” which is a typical Swedish Christmas drink which is mulled wine with raisins and other eatable things in it, you serve it warm. On the morning of Lucia, every Swedish family celebrates it by letting the kids wake up there parents with a plate of saffron buns, gingerbread etc. while singing typical Christmas carols such as “silent night”, but of course in Swedish.
The most common story of Lucia is that she would bring food to the persecuted Christians in Rome, who lived hiding in the catacombs under the city. She would wear candles on her head so she had both hands free to carry things. Lucy means “light” so it’s a very appropriate name for her. December 13th was also the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, in the old “Julian” calendar and a pagan Festival of Lights in Sweden was turned into at Lucia day.
We also choose a national Lucia, which will sing live on Lucia day morning on the television.