13th of December 2013: Swedish Lucia celebration at Dusit Thani

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The Swedish Association in Hua Hin, Sanuk – Svenska skolan (Swedish School) Thailand and Dusit Thani Hua Hin arranging on 13th December a traditional celebration of Sankta (Saint) Lucia Day. It is a special festivity for the local Swedish community in Hua Hin, connecting to a long tradition during the darkest winter month back in the Nordic homeland. The celebration is of course open to all nationalities to participate in.

Dusit Thani Hua Hin is becoming a special place for the Swedes in Hua Hin, as the rather newly established Swedish Consulate is located there. Last year, the Lucia celebration was also held there, for the first time.

Background

St. Lucia’s Day, on the 13th of December, is celebrated most commonly in Italy and in Scandinavia, with each emphasizing a different aspect of the story. In traditional celebrations, St. Lucia comes as a young woman with lights and sweets. It is one of the very few saint days observed in Scandinavia. In some forms, a procession is headed by one girl wearing a crown of candles (or lights), while others in the procession hold only a single candle each.

Although no sources for her life-story exist other than in holy stories, very similar to other female martyrs of that time, St. Lucia is believed to have been a Sicilian young woman who suffered a sad death in Syracuse, Sicily, around AD 304.

On 13th December, in each Swedish community, a young girl will be selected as Saint Lucia. She dresses in a long white gown with a red ribbon tied at the waist, wearing a crown of fresh greens and candles on her head. In a procession, she enters a dimmed room with appropriately attired boys and girls, to the harmonious chords of a Lucia song.

Alongside Midsummer, the Lucia celebrations represent one of the foremost cultural traditions in Sweden, with their clear reference to life in the peasant communities of old times: darkness and light, cold and warmth. Her feast originally coincided with the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year before calendar reforms, so her feastday has become a festival of light.

Text of a Lucia song:

The night treads heavily
around yards and dwellings
In places unreached by sun,
the shadows brood
Into our dark house she comes,
bearing lighted candles,
Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia.

 

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