The Universe and Me

Friday, December 26, 2008

vitklädd med ljus i hår

For Christmas decorations, I placed a figurine of Lucia on top of the fridge and B asked me about the lit candles on her head. What did they signify? I wasn't sure and asked my Grandmother, who was born in Sweden, but she didn't know either. So I googled.

Lucia was an Italian saint who appeared vision-wise, as saints will, along with a ship of food during a Middle Age famine in Sweden's Varmland province. Since Lucia wore a wreath of candles on her head and took food to the poor people in dark tunnels, she became a symbol of light. In Sweden, on December 13th, the oldest daugther traditionally prepares a special breakfast of Lussekatter (saffron flavored rolls) and gingerbread cookies, wears a white dress with a red sash and the wreath of candles (now typically battery operated because too many gals had their hair catch fire.) Following her are similarly dressed girls (tärnor) and boys wearing a tall pointed hat carrying a star wand (stjärngossar.) They sing carols and then everyone enjoys coffee and the rolls and cookies.


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