Sunday, December 13, 2009

a very God Jul

It really feels like Christmas is on its way. Especially here in Sweden. Today was St. Lucia Day. This is a day when young girls dress up at St. Lucy, with a crown of candles on her head, a white "angel" dress with a red shash. She comes in the morning of December 13th, to give sweets such as pepparkakor (gingerbread) and lussebullar (sweet buns made from saffron). Originally, it was the oldest daughter who brought light and sweets to the family. But now, a Lucia is elected for each town. The candle portrays the fire that didn't not take Lucy's life, when she was to be burned. But also, in Scandanavia, is bringing light into the darkest time of the year.

Now, in Sweden, to involve everybody, there are Star boys, who wear the same white robe, a pointy hat with stars on it, and a long stick with a shining star on the top. There are also Pepparkakor gubber (ginger bread men), and Santa Claus boys and girls who carry lanterns. They also participate in singing, and usually have a song or two about them.

These "characters" walk into the church in a line known as a LuciatÄg (Lucia train). They sing the traditional Santa Lucia song and file up into some kind of bleacher structure at the front of the church. Usually, the girl depicting Lucia stands at the front smiling with her hands in a prayer position. She doesn't really have to do much. The other people sing many Lucia songs, including flutes, violins and other instruments. After it's over, they sing the same song they sang when they came in, and file out of the church.

It's really a beautiful tradition, and especially cute when children are doing it. I went to Fredrik's mom's school where I watched 3, 4, and 5 year olds do it. Wow, that was adorable! Then on Friday we went to see Caitlins.

We also woke up at 7am to watch the Lucia on TV. It was really beautiful and had a lot of good songs! I felt bad for the Lucia though. She has to stand up in front of everybody for a really long time just smiling and holding her hands together. Must be kind of hard!

We did a lot of nice stuff this weekend, but that will come later.

I hope everybody had a good St. Lucia day! :)

The Swedish word of the day is "julgran" which means "Christmas tree" and is pronounced "Yul gron"


  1. We saw all about St. Lucia in Sweden on the Rick Steves special about Christmas all around the world! I remembered it is Dec. 13 and I was hoping you would post about it.
    I am learning alot about Sweden! Thanks!
    We have The Dukes of Lawrence with us this week! Yeah for us!

    Gran of The Dukes
    Colorado, USA

  2. Since you are the oldest daughter - next year we'll be expecting great things from you! Thank you for sharing this beautiful tradition.

    Merry Christmas Ashley