Tomorrow is Lucia Day – originally a celebration of the Catholic saint Santa Lucia who’s name means “light”.
Every year on December 13th this day is celebrated in schools and kindergartens, churches and elderly homes all over Denmark. It is a tradition that celebrates the life of Santa Lucia. Traditionally, a young girl is chosen to portray the saint. She wears a crown of candles at the front of a procession in which everyone wears white and carries a candle. Lucia in the white dress with the light is the image of the light of Christianity. Santa Lucia Day is a major Swedish feast that has been celebrated since 1927. In Denmark, the tradition of Santa Lucia processions was adopted in 1944, and it has been celebrated annually ever since.
For many, Lucia Day is a beautiful and warming event where light and song marks this special day in December. The original story of the saint, was however not as calm and warming as this: Santa Lucia was born in Sicily in year 283 when the Roman Empire was thriving and it was punishable by death and torture to be Christian. Lucia was living her Christian life and hiding it from non-believers. When her family promises her away to a non-Christian man, she refuses marriage. This brings attention to her and she is convicted of being a Christian. Her punishment is that she must be sent to a brothel. To protect herself and not tempt the men, she pokes out her beautiful eyes, but when she does so God gives her new eyes and she must do it again. With or without eyes however, the Romans are unable to bring Lucia to the brothel because God is protecting her. She is therefore instead sentenced to the flames. But once again, God steps in, and Lucia does not burn. In the end, she is killed by a sword on the 13th of December in year 304, and she is later regarded as an important Christian Saint that brings light in dark times as well as becoming the saint for the blind.
If you have a child in a Danish school or Kindergarten, I recommend you go see the processions. It is a very nice and very touching experience.
If you like a more untraditional Lucia, you can also go to the Copenhagen harbor at 17:00 to see a parade of kayaks.
We wish you a nice Lucia Day!