Lucia − the Bearer of Light

Lucia, together with Midsummer, is one of main cultural Swedish traditions. The festivities around Lucia have been going on for 400 years and  Lucia herself is an ancient mythical figure with an long-lasting role as a bearer of light in the dark Swedish winters.

Lucia and her maidens! Photo: Cecilia Larsson/

The annual candlelit Lucia procession on December 13th  is one Sweden’s most enchanted customs, with girls and boys dressed in white full-length gowns singing traditional Lucia songs together.

During Lucia you will see thousands of young girls emerge from the darkness of a Swedish winters day and gently silence the crowds with a procession of light. Dressed as Lucia’s maidens, in flowing white gowns, each girl holds a candle and wears a wreath of glowing candles in her hair.  The charm of the children solemnly proceeding through cities, towns and churches, giving out saffron buns and singing Lucia’s beautiful melodies, dressed as gingerbread men and elves will captivate you. It’s just magic.

Children celebrating Lucia. Photo: Lena Granefelt/

A Lucia is chosen from every establishment country-wide such as schools etc. and the Lucia elections are a seriously competitive business. A national Lucia is selected and announced on television, and every town and village has its own contenders who appear in the local newspaper some time in advance. The winners are paraded around towns, spreading joy and song in supermarkets, factories and hospitals. The Lucia songs are commonly known, so everyone can join in. The angelic tone of children’s voices and the gentle glow of candlelight make this day a lovely one.

Lucia concert. Photo: Gillberg

There are several places to witness the Lucia celebrations in West Sweden.  The beautiful Gunnebo House & Gardens has a wonderful Lucia concert as well as Liseberg’s Big Stage in Gothenburg where Gothenburg’s Lucia will be crowned as well as church concerts in Gothenburg.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *