Saint Lucia's Day

Saint Lucia's Day Quick Facts - EU

AKA NameIl giorno di Santa Lucia
2024 Date13 December 2024
2025 Date13 December 2025

Saint Lucia Day

Saint Lucia Day in 2024

Saint Lucia's Day History

Saint Lucia Day honours the Catholic patron saint renowned for her immense faith and acts of charity. It is widely celebrated across various European countries, particularly in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. This observance is characterized by the organization of colourful parades, the wearing of traditional white robes, and the performance of customary songs and dances. Saint Lucia Day serves as an important reminder to cultivate the values of compassion and generosity, by focusing on giving towards those in need.

The origins of Saint Lucia Day can be traced back to Sweden's adoption of Christianity in the Middle Ages, where veneration of the saint grew steadily. Over time, this tradition became deeply rooted in Swedish culture and eventually spread to other Scandinavian countries. Saint Lucia Day embodies a common identity shared between Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, strengthening the bonds that unite them.

People participate in processions led by a girl dressed as Saint Lucia in a white robe, adorned with a crown of candles. Traditional songs are sung, and saffron buns, called lussekatter, are served. The parades are often joined by star boys, young boys dressed in white robes and cone-shaped hats, carrying stars on their staffs. Saint Lucia Day occurs on December 13th each year.

Saint Lucia's Day Facts

  • When the Roman authorities arrested her, they attempted to defile her in a brothel, but the soldiers could not move her, even when yoked to a team of oxen. The legend also says that her eyes were gouged out by her executioners, but they miraculously healed.
  • She was born in 283 AD in Syracuse, a city in present-day Italy, which was then part of the Roman Empire, and died in 304 AD.
  • According to one story, St. Lucia would carry a lantern at night to light her way. To keep her hands free to distribute food, she wore a wreath of candles on her head.

Saint Lucia's Day Top Things to Do

  • Engage in making Lussekatter (St Lucia saffron buns) or pepparkakor (ginger biscuits), a traditional fare associated with this day.
  • If you’re near the city of York, the historic York Minster usually hosts a Lucia concert featuring traditional Swedish carols.
  • Consider visiting cities like Copenhagen or Aarhus to witness Lucia processions in Danish schools or churches. You might also find small local events or performances showcasing Danish traditions related to the holiday.
  • Saint Lucia Day is quite popular in Finland, particularly in Swedish-speaking regions like Åland and the coastal areas of Ostrobothnia. Head to cities like Helsinki, Turku, or Vaasa to witness Lucia processions in schools, churches, or even shopping centers.

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