(EDIT: Click here for information regarding 2014 Lucia) This Monday, December 13th, is St Lucia Day... an important day is the Swedish holiday calendar and one of the most beautiful of Swedish traditions. The main tradition is that of a parade of white clad singers holding a candle, led by a young woman (Lucia) with a wreath of candles in her hair. They sing the Lucia song while entering, followed by Christmas carols. This procession will take place in homes, schools and churches all through Sweden on Monday. In homes the processions are made up of the children in the family coming into their parents room in the morning. Elsewhere the Lucia is often elected. Check out videos on youtube to get a better idea of the ceremony.
Photo: Marie Andersson, Skansen
As a visitor to Stockholm, your best chance of witnessing this tradition is either in a church or at Skansen. Churches can have one or two processions/concerts during the afternoon and evening. There is generally an admission fee and tickets should be bought ahead of time as this is quite a popular event. While churches provide perhaps the most beautiful setting, the downside is that the church service will be generally done in Swedish and may be a bit hard for tourists to understand! The other option is Skansen. This is Stockholm's outdoor cultural museum and zoo and a great place to experience genuine Swedish traditions. Here you will find Lucia celebrations going on all day and into the evening... There will be four Lucia concerts in the Seglora church (12:30, 2:00, 3:30 and 5pm), otherwise the main Lucia procession & concert (with the official Lucia of Sweden) will be at the Solliden stage at 6pm. Please remember that most of Skansen is outdoors, so dress accordingly! The easiest way to get to Skansen from the Rival Hotel is to take the Djurgårds Ferry from Slussen (a 10 minute walk from the hotel).