Now that I’ve written so much about Austria, I should write something about Swedish christmas traditions too.
Today in the morning, I tiptoed into my work’s garage, where in the dark, surrounded by test cars, prototype engines and various tools my colleagues sat at tables by candlelight, drinking mulled wine on work time.
December 13: St. Lucia day in Sweden
St. Lucia is a wonderful Swedish christmas tradition – that is, if you unlike me have no problems with getting up early and can actually enjoy music then.
On Dec 13, before it gets light, St. Lucia walks the rooms of Sweden waering a white dress and a wreath of lit candles in her hair.
Traditionally, it is the youngest daughter of the house who is Lucia, accompanied by the rest of the children in similar robes. They carry candles, sing christmas songs and bring breakfast – coffee, mulled wine and the traditional yellow, spiraled-S shaped saffron buns – to their parents.
At offices and schools the tradition is also kept. It is very beautiful, and many places put much pride in their choir singing. The picture above is an unfinished sketch I made from my impression of seeing it at university the first year I spent in Sweden – girls singing by candle light in absolute serenity. Mmm… winter and darkness are so much more bearable with such traditions!
I may post a picture of the traditional saffron cakes later, if I can pick one up on the way home. I don’t like posting stock photos…