Monday, December 15, 2008

Sta: Lucia

Hej Hej,

Well, Saturday was December 13th or Sta: Lucia day in Sweden. In most schools and work places the day would have been celebrated on Friday, with singing, lussekatt (saffron buns) and glögg (mulled wine)(well, maybe no glögg at the schools :) ). I attended B.'s departmental Luciatåg (Lucia train) on Friday. B. was dressed as a stjärngossar (star boy) and participated in the singing.

Here's a clip of the singing...

Saint Lucia/Lucy Day is celebrated on Dec. 13th, which was the shortest day of the year in the unreformed Julian Calendar. Lucia is one of the few saints celebrated by members of the Lutheran church. The Church of Sweden is Lutheran and most Swedes are members of the church - although I'm not sure how many actually attend church on a regular basis. The story of the saint comes from Sicily (so it beats me why they always try to find a blonde Lucia in Sweden, unless Sicilians are known for their blonde hair???). Lucia means light, and perhaps that's why Swedes chose to continue celebrating this saint. Winter is incredibly dark here, so anything that brings light has got to be good.

Generally, young girls dress in white robes with one girl chosen to be Lucia. Lucia wears a crown of candles (real candles!). And the remaining girls hold candles. The candles symbolize the fire that refused to take St. Luica's life when she was sentenced to be burned (she had to stabbed to death instead). Boys also participate but they dress up as stjärngossar (like B. although lab coats are not necessarily the official costume of a starboy), tomtenissar (Santa's little helpers in red Santa-like suits) or as gingerbread men.

If you'd like to read the full story of Lucia Day you can find it here and for more background on the Saint herself you can check out this link: St. Lucy.

Today, the sun is shining, for the first time in what feels like a month, although I'm told it peeped out briefly last Sunday, but since I was in Stockholm on Sunday I must have missed it! I'm going to try and get out and enjoy a moment in the sun while I can. I hear its snowing in Vancouver, joy of joys. The gods must be trying to spite me :)

6 days until lift off...
God Jul,

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