The Feast of St. Lucia, December 13

The Feast of St. Lucia, December 13, is perhaps the most cherished of all Swedish traditions. A celebration of the “bearer of light in the darkness,” it is marked by stunning candlelit processions of girls in white gowns wearing wreaths of candles in their hair. These days the candles are battery-powered, but the atmosphere is the same – filled with an uplifting spirit of fellowship and joy.

Lucia in Swedish school

Lucia in Swedish school

St. Lucia marks the start of the Christmas season

Lucia traditionally marks the start of the Christmas season, and that brings with it all sorts of seasonal foods, from briny lutfisk to saffron-flavoured lussekatter sweet rolls (so named because they resemble curled-up, sleeping cats) to the spicy, aromatic mulled wine known as glögg.

The Feast of St. Lucia, December 13: Lucia celebrations at Skansen, Stockholm

Lucia celebrations at the open-air museum Skansen in Stockholm

Swedish lussekatter and gingerbread

Swedish lussekatter and gingerbread

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Source: VisitSweden US; photos: Nordstan, Gothenburg (featured image), Skansen and Lantmännen (lussekatter); the photo from a Swedish school is our own