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December 13, 2011

Happy Santa Lucia Day, A Swedish holiday

Today is a very special day for my mother and I. It is Santa Lucia's Day and I have celebrated this special holiday since I was a little girl. Tonight we will eat sweet porridge made from sweet white rice. Here is a brief snapshot on the history of Santa Lucia:
"The festival of Santa Lucia begins before dawn, on the thirteenth of December, which under the old Julian calendar (used in Sweden before 1753) was Christmas Day and the longest night of the year. Throughout Sweden, the eldest daughter in each household comes to her sleeping parents, dressed in a long white gown tied with a red sash, and wearing a crown of lingonberry leaves in which are set seven lighted candies. In her hands she carries a tray of steaming hot coffee and "Lussekattor" (Lucia Runs). The procession includes her sisters and brothers also dressed in white, holding lighted candles, and singing of the light and joy of Christmas.
The sisters of the Lucia Bride wear a wreath of tinsel in their hair and a piece tied around their waist, while the boys have tall pointed caps sprinkled with stars. Awakened by the lights and the singing, the parents arise and eat the breakfast served, thus ushering in the Christmas season.
Scandinavian tradition holds that in Värmland, Sweden, a white-clad maiden, wearing a crown of burning candies, brought food to the starving villagers on the shores of Lake Vänern. "

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