torsdag 13 december 2012

Sankta lucia

So today is one of Swedens celebration of the darkest day of the year. When I'm searching for information about this celebration, it's a bit confusing. It is said that it has nothing to do with the Sicilian saint Lucia as I have been told, not that much anyway. It is a mix between pre-christian and christian rites. In the old Julian calender, the 13th december was the darkest day of the year and from that day until christmas the risk of being attacked by evil entities was larges. That was fought with light and singing. It was called Lussi.

Some traditions says that young people walked from house to house to sing Staffan-songs (about a horse farm worker) and beg for treats. Thats the guys with the star decorated cones in the background.
Lucia is the girl that brings the light with candles and often waking up the people in the house with singing and treats like gingerbreads and saffron buns "Lusse-bulle".

File:Luciafirande på Koberg i Västergötland 1848. Fritz von Dardel - Nordiska Museet - NMA.0033692.jpg
      source Lucia 1848

So its like any other swedish traditions, a mix between several old and new ones. The picture above describes the modern lucia wich was developed during the late 19th century. Its a very beautiful event when the long row of people with candles enter a dark room singing Santa Lucia (but in a Swedish version) . Other songs are the Staffan song, Lusse lelle, and other christian christmas songs.

Lots of schools are celebrating this. But this year Alfons school choosed to not arrange it at all, because of lack of resources (what on earth is happening at that school?..) I have to wait until sunday, when we will see lucia at the youngest kids swim school. A swimming lucia with white dressed children with candles around the pool is also nice.

Update: I got a link from a friend. This is a beautiful way to celebrate, all allone in the forest.

Something that is not so nice about the tradition is the selection of the lucia. Either the teacher selected lucia and it was always the tallest girl with long blond hair or the teachers favourite. Or they had an election at school and it was the popular girl who won. As I was short and had dark hair I was never lucia. Until Highschool when my classmates forced me to put on the crown and wake up our math teacher with singing and cookies. It was fun. Today, thank good they are more nice to young people. They raffle by those who wants.

12 kommentarer:

  1. Jadu, det där känner jag igen. Som den enda mörkhåriga och mörkögda tjejen i klassen fick jag vara Maria i julspelen - varje år. Kom aldrig ens i närheten av att bli Lucia. Fast det var ok, "alla" var ju blonda, jag var den som var speciell :)

  2. It is always fascinating to know about traditions! It is amazing that you are having the longest night of the year right now, while it is summer over here. I would like to do something to celebrate the longest night, it seems a bit magical, somehow.

    I would love to see some Lucia maidens, I think it is lovely, although, as a dark haired person I would never get to be one either :( My boyfriend's family has nesting doll Lucia ornaments, the littlest two are Santa and baby jesus.

    I want to try saffron buns, I wonder if you can get them in Australia?

    1. It's actually not the longest night today. In the modern calendar the longest night is 22th december.
      If you have the longest day right now you could celebrate it as well. By partying and staying up all night and dance around a midsummer pole. Like we do ;)

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  4. Svar
    1. Var tvungen att lägga in den vackra videon du länkade till på facebook. Underbart

  5. First I'd ever heard of Lucia was when my daughter wanted an American Girl doll who was Swedish, and they had a Lucia costume for her complete with the candle headdress. She had a little painted wooden chest for her clothes, too! But we ended up getting the Victorian doll instead ... ;o)

    Beautiful video - I remember playing this song on the piano for the Junior Choir one year at the Christmas pageant, but at that time I really didn't know what it was all about; now I do! :o)

  6. I love this tradition. And like the Insomniac's daughter, I had experiences with American Girl dolls- mine WAS the Swedish immigrant doll, and her CHristmas story was about trying to celebrate the St. Lucia tradition in her new home country, where her family was just too busy trying to get by in their first winter in America to worry about the tradition. A very lovely story, actually.

    I tried to make my family breakfast in bed at some time when I was like eight... but didn't know how to cook anything so Mom ended up helping a bit and we ate at the dining room table instead as I couldn't lift the heavy wooden tray I tried to use. The next year I made my little sister be St. Lucia and acted as her "assistant," and my dad helped me make food for the family to eat around the table. I knew zero of the traditions, but having so many ethnic traditions of my own I really wanted to try this one.

    Being a bad cook, however, prevented me from trying again after that. I made toast, hot chocolate, and probably tried some complicated egg dish that failed.

    For the St. Lucia outfit I just used the headdress that came with my doll (as I wasn't old enough or trustworthy enough to wear a wreath with live candles on it) and found a white robe to wear. Then I dressed my doll up and sat her at the table too.

    1. Wonderful story and cute :). Oh any store bought cookie will do if it is served with some singing ;)

  7. I must admit I haven't heard of this tradition till now but it looks very interesting! I imagine it must be amazing to have the longest night, it would be a great excuse to go out into town haha :)

    1. Indeed it is a night for party until the morning. Like the midsummer is as well :D

  8. Ha! I definitely feel your pain. I wouldn't have been chosen as a Lucia either, as I'm also dark-haired and short. I loved this post, it's wonderful to learn the traditions of other countries.