Santa Lucia Day is a holiday celebrated in Sweden on December 13th to honor Lucia of Syracuse, a virgin Christian martyr in the 4th century. Legend goes that Lucia brought food to Christians hiding in Roman catacombs, and wore a wreath of candles on her head to provide light on her journey and to keep her hands free to carry supplies.
Until the Julian calendar, December 13th was the shortest and darkest day of the year (the winter solstice). Santa Lucia Day was celebrated on this dark day as a festival of light. As it comes before Christmas, it is used as a way to point to the light of Christ. This Sankta Lucia song is sung.
Santa Lucia Day is most commonly celebrated in Sweden, but is also celebrated in other Scandinavian countries, Finland, and Italy, as well as by others around the globe. Typically, the oldest daughter in a family wears a white robe to symbolize a baptismal robe, along with a red sash to represent her blood as a martyr. She also wears a wreath with candles on her head. She typically carries saffron buns (lussekatter) in a procession to symbolize bringing the light of Christ into the darkness of the world.
- Picture Book Recommendation: Lucia Morning in Sweden by Ewa Rydaker (Author), Carina Stahlberg (Illustrator)
- Video about Santa Lucia Day
- Easy Santa Lucia Day Recipe: Santa Lucia Buns (Lussekatter)
- Santa Lucia Day Craft Activity: On Santa Lucia Day, the eldest daughter typically wears a crown of candles and the boys wear star hats. You can make both out of simple construction paper! Learn how right here.