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A Sparkling Interlude in the Dark, St. Lucia's Day.

hayley mcdonnell life lessons lifestyle the retreat Dec 08, 2021

By Hayley McDonnell.

In the Western hemisphere, a sparkling interlude in the dark, cold month of December is St. Lucia's Day.  

St. Lucia's Day is acknowledged by an abundance of festivity and lights and celebrated in Sweden, Norway, and the Swedish-speaking areas of Finland on December 13. Again, the cultural traditions of this special day have Christian martyrs at their origins as the day is in honour of St. Lucia (St. Lucy). One of the earliest Christian martyrs, St. Lucia, was killed by the Romans in 304 CE because of her religious beliefs.

In Scandinavian countries, each town elects its own St. Lucia. Young girls are dressed in white robes with a red sash, with one girl selected as "Lucia" who wears a crown of lit candles (or battery-powered ones), the others carrying a single candle. Processions with singing and revelry abound. 

The festival begins with a procession led by the St. Lucia designee, followed by young girls dressed in white and wearing lighted wreaths on their heads and boys dressed in white pyjama-like costumes singing traditional songs. 

The festival marks the beginning of the Christmas season in Scandinavia, and it is meant to bring hope and light during the darkest time of the year. Schools generally close around noon on the day of the festival so that families can prepare for the one day holiday.

These popular customs are performed for St. Lucia's Day on the morning of December 13, at almost the darkest time of year; the ceremony features a "Light Queen," who, wearing a white gown and a crown of lighted candles, represents the returning sun which is much longed for. 

Families observe St. Lucia's Day in their homes by having one of their daughters, traditionally the eldest, dress in white and serve coffee and baked goods, such as saffron bread (lussekatter) and ginger biscuits, to the other members of the family. These traditional foods are also given to visitors during the day.

In earlier centuries, the Norse celebrated the winter solstice with large bonfires meant to scare off evil spirits and alter the sun's course. After converting to Christianity sometime around 1000, the Norse incorporated the legend of St. Lucia into their celebration. The modern festival of light combines elements of both pagan and Christian traditions.


Social: Every day is a special day for you to spend time with others, enjoying their company and having fun. You don't have to wait until a festival to be celebrated to do this in your life. Make your own plans today or say yes to that invite.

Moral: One of the earliest Christian martyrs, St. Lucia, was killed by the Romans in 304 CE because of her religious beliefs. What are you grateful for in your life? What would you stand up for?

Spiritual: Light represents hope, joy and purity. These features are significant during the winter months. Embrace the season and look forward to new opportunities when Spring occurs. 

Cultural: In many countries, time is given to prepare and celebrate religious festivals and cultural events. Why not try doing something new or different during this season wherever you are in the world? Share photos of what you do with the members of The Female CEO in the community! 


Hayley McDonnell is a Personal Development/SMSC consultant and author intent on bridging the gap between countries, cultures, customs and ultimately people with “Global Collaboration” Her aim is to make our world feel smaller by connecting with our similarities and embracing our differences. She loves to travel and meet new people from different backgrounds, countries and cultures. You can find out more about Hayley here.



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