Lucia – The Bearer of light
Lucia is an ancient mythical figure with an abiding role as a bearer of light in the dark Swedish winters. All Swedes know the standard Lucia song by heart, and everyone can sing it, in or out of tune. The Lucia celebrations also include ginger snaps and sweet, saffron-flavoured buns (lussekatter) shaped like curled-up cats and with raisin eyes. You eat them with glögg or coffee.
Saffron buns, also called Lucia buns (‘Lussebullar’) or Lucia cats (‘Lussekatter’), are served in the month leading up to Christmas. They are flavored with golden saffron and dark raisins.
Join us on December 11th and enjoy a traditional Swedish Christmas Buffet, fine wine and beverages, and a stunning Lucia procession!
Swedish Lucia – The Origins
December 13th is the day that Swedes and others all over the world honor the legend of Saint Lucia. For many, many years Lucia has brought faith, hope, and a reason to believe in good things to come. Her legend stems from Syracuse on the island of Sicily. It is thought that during a time when the rulers of the land did not look favorably upon Christianity, a woman named Lucia had devoted her life to God and the poor. She gave her entire dowry to the poor, and the man she was to marry was very upset by this. Lucia was put on trial, refused to renounce her Christian beliefs and was declared a witch. She was to be burned at the stake but when the guards tried to light the fire it would not light. Ultimately, she was stabbed.
There are many theories on how the legend of Lucia came to Sweden. It could have been brought by priests, German traders, or even by the Vikings in their adventures to southern Europe. No one knows just how it evolved into the uniquely Swedish tradition it is today, and there are many versions of a Swedish Sankta Lucia story. One popular version is a story of a terrible famine many years ago. On December 13th a well-lit ship on Lake Vänern approached the shore carrying a woman at the helm dressed in white with a glow around her head. Having heard the Italian version the starving people thought it could be Saint Lucia coming to save them from this terrible famine.
Watch the “Lucia for dummies” video:
The night treads heavily
around yards and dwellings
In places unreached by sun,
the shadows brood
Into our dark house she comes,
bearing lighted candles,
Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia.