Sunday, 14 December 2008


Yesterday was St. Lucia's Day here in Sweden. Today was the crowning of St. Lucia. So we went to the service which was held in our local church. St. Lucia is chosen, in fact voted on who it should be. This year it was the daughter of one of our friends.

We first went to this service 3 years ago and found it quite - moving, magical, spectacular, serene! Just lovely.

This afternoon the service began with a short welcome by the priest followed by some music played on 2 flutes and a guitar then a song, after which everyone clapped.

Then the lights dimmed and unacompanied singing began behind us. A procession of 7 girls (aged about 15) began walking down the aisle singing. They all wore a white long sleeved ankle length gown tied with a red sash. 'St. Lucia' led them. She wore the same white gown but on her head she wore a 'crown' of candles, which were lit! She held her hands together in front of her as if in prayer. She kept them like this throughout the service, (nearly an hour). All of the other girls carried a lit candle in their hand. They proceeded up the aisle to the front of the church where they then stood in a semi-circle facing the congregation. They sang songs together interspersed with most of the girls singing a solo, all of which were accompanied by the piano or sometimes the other instruments.

St. Lucia was given a necklace which the priest placed around her neck. I remember 3 years ago the same priest having difficulty with this and a lady stepped forward to help. He managed okay today, maybe he's been practising.

After the songs had all been sung, St lucia led the procession back up the aisle singing the same St. Lucia song over and over again. It was lovely.

What was noticable this year that apart from one young boy leading one of the songs, no other boys took part. They usually have a role to play and wear cone shaped hats. Perhaps it is something that even here is viewed as not 'cool'.

Traditionally St. Lucia would go round handing out cakes to elderly people. You can read more about the story of St. Lucia and how it is celebrated in Scandinavia and elsewhere here.

Sorry I don't have a photo to show you. You'll just have to use your imagination. A photo would not have done it justice.


Anonymous said...

Goedemorgen Lynn,
So nice to read the story about St.Lucia, i never quit knew what it thanks ! That's what i also like about blogging; to get to know other countries and their traditions ! I was not here for a while so i watched a lot of your pictures...i CAN NOT believe how much snow you've got !! Can you sent some overhere :))
It's still so very green overhere !
Have a nice week, Janneke.

Lynne said...

Nice to hear from you again Janneke. We've still got a lot of snow here! I agree it is good to see how other countries celebrate through blogging and to learn a bit more about each country.

Sarah said...

That sounds like a lovely service. I can imagine how beautiful it looked. Will have a look at St. Lucia later.

Lynne said...

Sarah- it's always interesting to find out about other traditions isn't it.

Teresa said...

Hi Lynn,

Found your blog recently and have so much enjoyed all of your beautiful photos. I'm originally from England but now live in the southern part of the U.S. - so I'm snow starved! LOL!

Enjoyed reading about your St. Lucia's service. Sounds lovely and a nice break from the holiday bustle.

Daisy said...

This was very interesting, Lynne. I'm not familiar with this tradition. It sounds like it was quite lovely. :)

Kathleen from Eggs In My Pocket said...

Hi Lynne, just enjoyed reading your words on this. Have a merry Christmas and many blessings for the new year. blessings, Kathleen

Sarah said...
Hi Lynne, I had a look and after getting lots of info about the island I found this page which is very interesting and has a picture of a girl with the real candles in her hair.

Lynne said...

Teresa- Hi, nice to meet you. They celebrate St Lucia in Minnesota I believe, but I don't know where that is in relation to you. I was never very good at geography. I'll go and check Google Maps!
How long have you lived in the U.S.?

Daisy- The service is really quite lovely, and stunning if seeing it for the first time and not sure what to expect.

Sarah- glad you've found out more about such a lovely tradition and country. Is it something you will be able to use in your teachings next year do you suppose?

Sarah said...

You never know. Not the real candles though!