On Wednesday, December 13, Central Elementary was lucky enough to get a visit from three Santa Lucia Princesses and a Star Boy! With a large population of families with a Scandinavian heritage in our community, there were a number of students who wished to be part of the celebration of “Santa Lucia Day” or St. Lucy’s Day. Students at Central learn about Celebrations around the world as part of the International Baccalaureate Units of Inquiry. These four students visited every classroom bringing treats and a story about the history of the celebration.
What is St. Lucia’s Day?
St. Lucia’s Day is a festival of lights celebrated in Sweden, Norway, and the Swedish-speaking areas of Finland on December 13 in honour of St. Lucia. 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. The festival begins with a procession led by the St. Lucia designee, who is followed by young girls dressed in white and wearing lighted wreaths on their heads and boys dressed in white pajama-like costume 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 holiday. 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.
To see a video of the St. Lucia’s Day celebration in Sweden, click here.