Today is Swedish Lucia, it has been celebrated since before Christian times. Legend has it that the night leading up to the 13th of December was a dangerous one, filled with super natural creatures lurking around causing all sorts of trouble. It was also thought that the animals could speak during the Lucia night. All the preparations for Christmas were due to be finished for the Lucia day and this would be celebrated by eating and drinking. According to the old Julian calendar the Lucia day would fall on the winter solstice, which is why we traditionally celebrating the light coming back into our lives on Lucia day. Todays tradition of Lucia Choirs – led by one lady with lights in her crown dates back to around 1900 in Sweden.
Lucia for me, marks the real beginning of Christmas, its not until I’ve seen a Lucia concert that I get that real cosy, warm Christmas feeling sparking up inside me. I remember waking up as a kid, those cold and very dark December mornings and longing to go to school as I would get to see who was Lucia for this particular year, the concert was followed by the traditional Lusse Katt aka Lucia buns (saffron buns) and the rest of the school day was fun filled with us making decorations etc.
There are Lucia concerts in London too, and its getting increasingly popular and spreading to other parts of the UK too. The Swedish Church do one big concert yearly, usually at St Paul’s but you will have to be on guard and get your tickets early – they usually sell out as early as September. So in the meantime, the below video will have to do. It’s best enjoyed with some Glögg and pepparkakor with blue cheese.