Centuries before the birth of Christ, people
in the northern European countries lighted torches, bonfires, and oil
lamps during the winter solstice rites the last days of December. it was
the celebration of more hours of light and sunshine given to them by their
gods after overlong darkened nights.
As time passed and Christianity reached
the northern peoples, Sweden adopted St. Lucia as their Lady of Light. in
Sweden today. St. Lucia ~s day is observed on December thirteenth. It is a
special day for children. St. Lucia was a young girl put to death in 304
A. D. for professing Christianity. She is honored in Sweden because legend
tells she brought food their country needed to feed the children during a
terrible famine. When she appeared her face was bathed in light from a
candle-lit wreath placed on her head and her whole being seemed aglow with
an inner light.
St. Lucla’s Day is now a family
celebration where the oldest daughter dresses early, places a candle-lit
wreath on her head and wakens the members of her family. She knocks on the
door of her parents bedroom first and then
goes room to room. While the occupants
are still in bed, she serves them coffee and Lucia buns known as
This practice, since medieval times,
officially marks the beginning of Christmas activities.
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