Thursday, 13 December 2012
Today is a big Christmas celebration for all Scandinavians. By that I mean, Finland, Norway and Sweden. I'm not sure about Denmark, but I expect the have the same tradition. We celebrate Santa Lucia. It's a very big celebration in kindergardens and shools especially, where a girl will be selected to represent Lucia, and lead a parade of children dressed in white while holding a single candle. Lucia herself will be in the front, with a red ribbon around her waist, holding a candle and wear a candle crown on her head. It is truly a beautiful scene when these children enter a dark room full of parents, singing the Lucia song. However beautiful this might be, the real story behind Lucia is quite dramatic. I've done some research on this, so bear with me. The legend of Lucia dates back to 304 A.D. in Sicily. She was the daughter of a noble Christian family, and when her mother fell ill, she prayed to God for her health to come back. When she became well again, she swore to devote her life to God and helping the poor, and refused to marry the man the family had promised her to. With fury, this man reported her as a Christian and she was to be burned at the stake. What we wear today, celebrating Santa Lucia, is for us a traditional symbol of beauty and warmth on long and cold winter nights. The white dress that we wear is in fact symbolizing her purity. The red ribbon symbolizes the blood that poured from her body as she was tortured. The lights in her hair has more of an interesting story...as she was put on the fire, it didn't burn her right away, but made a radiant light shining all around her while she died. Lucia was made a protestant saint. In art she is usually shown with her eyes in a bowl, as the story goes that they were so beautiful that she herself ripped them out so that no man could fall in love with them. They don't teach you this story in school I can assure you. I was never Lucia in kindegarden or school of course. It's every little girls dream. When I was young it HAD to be a blond girl. Now it's changed though. But I DID get my hair on fire though. You see, now they have the light on battery, but in the 80's they had REAL lights, even in kindergarden. So I'm told that my hair caught fire during one of these parades. I don't remember it, but at least I can say that I've come closest to being a real Lucia. That's right bastards!