The young woman chosen to represent Lucia always seems to be a “typical” blonde Swede, and so that’s why I really loved that today’s Lucia broke the tradition, with dark hair and a nose ring.
Though the actual Saint Lucy’s Day is December 13, every year the Swedish Church in Sydney presents the celebration a little early, co-inciding with their annual Christmas market, “Julmarknad”, and that’s what I went to this afternoon.
What is Saint Lucy’s Day? As Wikipedia notes:
Saint Lucy’s Day is celebrated most commonly in Scandinavia, with their long dark winters, where it is a major feast day, and in Italy, with each emphasising a different aspect of the story. In Scandinavia, where Saint Lucy is called Santa Lucia in Norwegian and Sankta Lucia in Swedish, she is represented as a lady in a white dress and red sash with a crown or wreath of candles on her head. In Norway, Sweden and Swedish-speaking regions of Finland, girls dressed as Lucy carry rolls and cookies in procession as songs are sung. Boys participate in the procession as well, playing different roles associated with Christmas. It is said that to vividly celebrate Saint Lucy’s Day will help one live the long winter days with enough light.
I love going to this every year. It’s such a warm celebration, and it helps me practice my Swedish, as I listen and occasionally sing along.