St. Lucia’s Day, or the festival of lights, is celebrated in Norway, Sweden, and all Swedish-speaking states of Finland on the 13th of December in honour of the great St. Lucia, one of the earliest Christian martyrs who was killed by Romans in 304 AD because of her views on Christianity. In some Scandinavian states, each home elects its statue of Lucia in remembrance of her suffering in the hands of Romans. The commemoration begins with a pageant led by the Lucia designee, followed by girls in white gowns and lighted wreaths on their hands and men dressed in white garments- like pyjamas singing all traditional choral.
The celebration marks the beginning of Christmas, a popular holiday celebrating the birth of Christ. The whole celebrations are meant to bring light and hope during the darker times. On the day of the festival, the schools and other public places close around noon to give time for friends and family time to prepare for the day. Homes and families observe the Lucia day in their compound by having one of the female children (mostly or according to traditions, she should be the eldest) serve baked bread goods such as bread Lussekatter, ginger biscuits, and saffron.
These traditional dishes are also given to friends and guests who visit any home during the holiday; in earlier eras, the so for called Norse celebrated the midwinter solstice with a large bonfire meant to send aware and scare evil spirits and to amend the course of the summer sun. After converting to Christianity sometime back around 1000 BC, the Norse adopted the great Lucia ways and started observing the celebration and its traditions. The modern holiday of Lucia, also known as the holiday of light, combines some of the elements from Christianity and some customs from old ways.
History of St. Lucia Festival
St Lucia festival is celebrated on 13th of December. It is pronounced Lu-see-a in Sweden and Lucchese-a in Italy. The festival is a remembrance of their saint of light, who was killed by Romans due to her strong belief in Christianity. Lucia was born and raised in Italy in the early 1200 AD in a noble Greek home; Lucia was then brought up in a time of serious and serve persecution for those individuals who had some Christian faith. Upon realizing that her family was arranging some relationship marriage to a pagan home, Lucia renounced the whole relationship and marriage. Instead, she chose to spend her time researching more about God. She also gave her share of the family fortune, the dowry, to the less fortunate people in her town. During these times, a behaviour of the sort was considered evil and strange, and since she was so strict with her faith, she was killed on the 13th of December 304.
The St. Lucia festival is one of the most decorated and cherished advent festivals in the Swedish-speaking state. Early in the morning of the day, the eldest female, with the help of her mother, portrays the great Lucia dressed in white pyjamas and crowed with candles on her crown. Then, she awakens the rest of the family with a plate full of freshly baked cookies, pastries, hot chocolate, coffee, and other refreshments. And as she serves these patches, she reminds her friends and family of the main reason for the celebration and the reason we also celebrate Christmas, which is the emerging of new light to the world, which is Jesus.
Interesting Facts about St. Lucy Festival
It is the celebration of the life and death of a great Christian Woman.
St. Lucy or Lucia was one of the great martyrs and missionaries who worked hard on her faith and brought Christianity to the Nordic state. She is also known for her efforts on religious beliefs and the old tales of her death. Like other missionaries, Lucy is known for her faith and good work in life and a brutal death; just unlike Jesus, who brought a new era, his death is not celebrated that much compared to his birth, Christmas. According to the old legend or a friend of hers, Lucy could carry water and food to other people who had been forced to flee the city or hide in some of the catacombs of the great Rome. The catacombs were so lonely and dark, and Lucia needed her hands and time to carry some essential supplies to the people. During this time, she engineered a traditional version of lighting, wearing candles on top of her head to light or give light to the way. The painful part is that she died a painful and horrible death in 304 AD after she refused to give up her vow to charity and chastity to marry a non-Christian man whom she was supposed to get married.
The Festival Mark the Return of Light and Winter Solstice
When they celebrate this fantastic day, one of the questions that people ask themselves is how Lucy become such a public figure in all Swedish states? Perhaps, it’s because of her resistance to the old ways and her marriage vow, which she turned down? In order to understand the whole theory surrounding this day, you need to understand the Julian Calendar, which in one way or the other has some connection to Christianity. Anyone who tried to bring the message of good news that is religion caught the attention of great thinkers and philosophers since many theories surrounded religion and its beliefs. The winter harshness was considered one of the hardest times in history, and its end was considered as the celebration time and return of the sun to the land. In the seasons, she was able to draft a way to make people believe that the long night ends when the light comes in, and that is Christianity which in the modern customs, we call it Christmas.
Is Lucia’s Day a Female Day?
The festival starts by having the eldest daughter serve the guest or family food while she wears white and a crown of light candles. These signify the light to the world, and her serving food represents Lucia serving food to other missionary who was hiding in catacombs across Rome. The celebration is meant to remember her, and it has nothing attached to it as a feminine day or women’s day. It only involves girls with candles representing the great Lucy and her doings during Christian transitions. Nobel Prize Female winners get a Morning Surprise.
Nobel prize winner or the chosen girl of the festival always gets some early morning wake-up treat from St. Lucy, and her attendants make her perform all the goodwill the great lucy did when she was alive. The main aim of these parts is to signify the old ways where St. Lucia could walk around with a candle to light her way to deliver some essential supplies to excelled missionaries. Just like Christmas, it’s all about celebrating the good deeds of a great person, and when it comes to Lucia festival, it all comes down to her acts and how she used to do them. The whole candle and white pyjamas signify the light she gave the Roman people that Christianity is the way. St. Lucia Traditions and Customs.
Tradition and custom include the foods being served, the pyjamas, the gender that is responsible for the occasion, and other things. All key ingredients when it comes to cooking should be fresh and baked the same day. As we said earlier, the whole occasion starts with the elder’s daughter serving the family food and portraying Lucy’s image doing the same. They are escorted by young boys who signify the muscles and energy required for the job. Has she stood by her strong belief about her faith she got killed, the courage is also translated to modern about religion and its consequences on one’s life. But since she ensured that the whole community knew the light and its stories, she has a strong place in the heart of many Sweden, Norway, and other Swedish-speaking states.
Things to Do on St. Lucia Holiday
Families and friends observe the great Lucia festival in their town and homes by having one of the children, traditionally the eldest daughter, put on a white dress and serve some baked goods and coffee to guests and friends. You can also take your kids out for other treats, such as taking them to a park and enjoying the new environment as you narrate the story of the great Lucy.
You can also take them out for costume shopping and candle refilling before the day or just before noon. This is done among many Norway families to refill their candles or prepare their daughter to be at service for the day. This helps to cultivate preparedness in kids during and before the holiday. And since schools and other learning institutions are closed, you can help your daughter prepare the whole occasion by buying some fresh supplies for barking bread and other cookies.
The Main Theme of the St. Lucia Holiday
The most used theme is the light, which means the end of darker and harder times; some consider it to bring hope and warmth to Sweden. However, you can add some décor to your home to fit in your holiday; people buy white roses for the day and white curtains to light the room nicely.
The custom and old theme for the St. Lucia holiday is white, and the easiest way to decorate your home is by using crepe paper, tablecloths, and bunting the whole house in white roses. Though many people consider using the Christmas decoration, which is okay since all the two holidays signify one message, bringing light to the world. And also, having some Christmas decorations will reduce your spending on the main Christmas event.
What is the Festival Symbol?
The great Lucy is represented in the modern time using Gothic art holding a candle with two eyes and a dish with a palm branch, symbolizing her victory over the pagan lifestyle. Other images include two oxen, a lamp, and a dagger, simplifying her heroic triumph against evil.