Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Lucia

(A not so) Wordless Wednesday: Lucia.
Lucia-day is always celebrated on the 13th of December in Sweden. Contests are held in every town and city to elect each year's Lucia, who traditionally, is a very fair-haired girl dressed in a white gown with a blood-red sash and a crown of lit candles, to commemorate the original Saint Lucia, who died a martyr approximately 305 A.D. According to legend, she was burned at the stake, but had to be stabbed in the throat because she would not die.

We who live in the North and long for light, use this maiden from Syracuse, as our symbol of light and hope in the darkest hour of winter. But this year, since the thirteenth of December was on a Sunday, all the school children had their Lucia-pagent on Monday the fourteen, either very early in the morning, when it is still dark, or in the late afternoon, when it gets dark again. Here are some shots from Elisabet's pre-school.

Elisabet is the short blond girl with the Lucia-crown made of fabric that is looking down. If anyone of you thought that she is an out-going little girl, judging from the many smiling photos on this blog, you will see another side of her now. She is actually very shy.

You may wonder why the children don't look so typically "Swedish", with blond hair and blue eyes.

We live in a middle-sized city where there are many families from countries where conflicts or repression have made them flee. Not all Swedish schools are like this, but many schools in cities are. These girls probably look more like the original Saint Lucia from Sicily, than our blond and blue-eyed Elisabet.

A happy (and almost never) Wordless Wednesday!



Quasi Serendipita said...

Great shots! We used to have a Lucia parade at school in Italy :)

Lin said...

Oh, very cool. I never knew the meaning of Lucia Day. How sweet!

Anna said...

December 17th, 2009
Dear Quasi Serendipita,
Nice to meet you! Thank you for visiting. That was interesting that you had a Lucia-parade when you were a child. My guess is that this custom of dressing up in a white gown, putting a crown of lit candles on your head and waking family members with coffee and these special "lussekatter" the sweet buns made with raisins and saffron is an import from Italy. This was originally not a "grass-roots" tradition at all, but something that started with aristocrats in the 18th-century, who perhaps had travelled to Italy and seen it there.
Since then, Saint Lucia's Day has become one of those traditions that Swedes usually showcase as a part of "the Swedish idenity". It is usually observed at embassies and the Nobel lauriates are usually paid a visit by a Lucia-parade in their hotelrooms -- before the sun rises!
I don't have time right now to write a proper blog-post with footnotes, but perhaps I will do that another time. I know where to find the information!
Thank you for taking the time to comment. I have tried to leave a comment on your blog, but had trouble figuring out where to leave it. Silly me.
I have only been to Rome in Italy as a tourist, but I loved it! It would be fun to go to Italy again at sometime.

By the way, You are first commenter on this post!
Best wishes

Dec. 17th, 2009
Dear Lin,
Thanks for stopping by. I haven't checked my emails yet today. I'm hopping that you will have time to write something there about that wonderful thought you had the other day. I really like your idea. But take your time. You are probably really busy now!
Here, it is utter chaos!

aldon @ orient lodge said...

My family and I live in Connecticut in the United States. We are not Swedish. However, we try to pay attention to other countries traditions. We have not celebrated Lucia-day here.

However, Fiona, my eight year old daughter does a radio show every Sunday evening, and last week, we started off talking a little bit about Lucia-day You can listen to her broadcast at Fiona's Radio Show.

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