Lucia at Skansen

Press Release   •   Nov 25, 2010 09:00 GMT

St. Lucy, or Lucia as she is known here, is celebrated in Sweden December. Every year a Lucia is chosen by popular vote, and the winning candidate is crowned on the 4th December by a celebrity and then returns to Skansen with her retinue for the traditional celebration on the Solliden stage on the 13th December.

Lucia coronation 4th December
This years chosen Lucia is crowned on the Bollnäs stage at 3 am.

Lucia Day 13 December
During the day actual Lucia Day the procession of this years Lucia and her retinue will visit hospitals and charity organizations. In the afternoon Lucia and her retinue will be transported by horse-drawn carriage to Skansen. The procession will reach the Skansen Solliden stage at 6pm where there will be a festive celebration with music and performances.

Lucia events during the 13th December
Lucia concerts in the Seglora church takes place at 11.30 am and 2, 4 and 5 pm.
Celebrating Lucia in the 1920s at the Brofästet Temperance Hall with performances at 12 am, 1.30, 3 and 4.30 pm. Tickets (free of charge) will be available at the Hall an hour before the performance.

Lucia - a crossover tradition
The origins of this peculiar festival in the winter darkness has nothing to do with the Italian saint St Lucia. Strange as it may seem, Lucia is a manifestation of a quite different medieval saint, Nicholas. When the Reformation came to Northern Europe, the adoration of saints was prohibited, but some of them, especially Nicholas, the generous patron saint of schoolchildren, were not easy to do without. So the Germans replaced the bearded saint and bishop with the Christ child and transferred the distribution of gifts from the feast of St Nicholas, on 6th December, to Christmas.

During the 17th and 18th centuries the Christ child, represented by a girl dressed in white linen tunic and with a candle wreath in her hair, played this part and the tradition spread to the western parts of Sweden. Here the day for the feast was transferred to the 13th December which was regarded as the longest night in the year, and the Christ child was called Lucia - Lucia being connected to lux, the latin for light. In the beginning of the 19th century Lucia became known elsewhere in Sweden and the earlies record of a Lucia celebration at Skansen is dated 1893.

Today the Lucia-tradition connects to the Italian saint at last when the chosen Lucia and part of her retinue travels to Syracuse for a visit on Sicily and in Rome for a series of performances.