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.