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Swedish Christmas - The season of light

Watch the Swedish Lucia celebration. Above, Sofia Lidskog, former Boston SWEA Lucia, photographed posing as Lucia in 2006 by Laguna Beach. Photo: Henrik Olund for Nordstjernan and Nordic Reach.


Seasons are unreliable in their attributes, most notably their changing average temperatures throughout the many parts represented by the Nordstjernan readership.

Very recently we were enjoying that one day of consideration, Thanksgiving, and suddenly we are now aware that in the unfathomable way of church calendars, the First and Second Advent Sundays have passed rapidly by. Even for those raised in the Swedish or Lutheran tradition, it is almost impossible to determine why First Advent is the one Sunday of the year when the most Swedes go to church. “It’s customary” or “We always have” are the answers received without a real explanation.

Lucia is one of the traditions which developed in Sweden (in contrast to other northern European lands), with a tangled history. Is there a direct connection with a Sicilian saint who is celebrated by the Catholic Church and in southern European countries? Or is the connection only with the name?

Here's a link to this year's televised Lucia celebration in Sweden: Luciamorgon från Kungsholms Kyrka

It is only in rather recent times, well the 1920’s, that the legend was brought to the attention of the general Swedish population with the launching of a contest by a Stockholm newspaper to select a young woman to portray Lucia.

Simply stated, the spirit of Christmas is that of “peace and joy to all men” —which of course includes all women and children as well. (This is not the time to debate semantic differences, which have developed over the centuries; we all know the meaning of “is” and “all”.)
However, even as there are Scrooges who decry too much Christmas festivity, there are also those who feel that the celebration of Lucia is overdone. To those we say, in the vernacular, “lighten up!”

Read about the upcoming events, attend one or several Lucia or Christmas events, rejoice in the innocence of the season, and enter into the Christmas spirit.
Peace and joy to all!

Don't miss another important date in the Swedish tradition, subscribe today, for yourself or someone you know: The Gift of a Year (of America's Swedish newspaper. ..think about it; a gift that keeps coming for an entire year or more!) Check out our latest issue online: Nordstjernan, available in print or digitally

More on Christmas in Scandinavia


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