December 13, 2009

Santa Lucia Day—Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and many other countries

This Christian feast day of St. Lucy is particularly associated with Scandinavian countries.

In a traditional celebration of the day, there is a procession of women or girls, each carrying one candle. The procession is headed by one girl who wears a white dress with a red sash and a crown of candles or other lights on her head. The procession sings a special song.

A home celebration involves the oldest daughter wearing the Santa Lucia garb and crown; singing, she brings coffee and St. Lucia buns to her parents in the morning. These buns are made with saffron. Other goodies traditional to the day include a cake called St. Lucy's crown and gingerbread cookies.

Boys sometimes participate in the holiday processions dressed as gingerbread men, tomte (mythical Scandinavian versions of leprechauns or elves), or star boys (whatever they are!).

In Sweden young people often spend the day in noisy partying, and university students often have formal dinners before leaving for their winter break.

Here is a website that has a nice video of girls singing the Lucia song. There are other nice things on this site, too, but a lot of the links didn't work for me.

Here is a recipe for saffron buns, and here is one for St. Lucia's crown.

Make a Swedish paper heart to decorate your home, hold treats, or decorate a Christmas tree.

This is a great site with information on Lucia crafts and recipes.

Here is a coloring page of a girl dressed as St. Lucia and a boy dressed as Star Boy.

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