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In Sweden, The Lucia Day, is venerated on December 13 in a ceremony where a girl is elected to portray Lucia. Wearing a white gown with a red sash and a crown of candles on her head, she walks at the head of a procession of women, each holding a candle.
Saint Lucia Day

St. Lucia Day is celebrated on 13 December in memory of a kind girl called Lucia who brought food to persecuted Christians in Rome. Today, St Lucia is represented by a girl wearing a white dress with a red sash and a crown of candles on her head. She leads a procession called "Lussetåg" and goes around singing Lucia songs. In homes, often the eldest daughter often plays St Lucia for her family and brings them Lussekatts (saffron buns) and hot coffee.

In Sweden, The Lucia Day, is venerated on December 13 in a ceremony where a girl is elected to portray Lucia. Wearing a white gown with a red sash and a crown of candles on her head, she walks at the head of a procession of women, each holding a candle.

The candles symbolize the fire that refused to take St. Lucia's life when she was sentenced to be burned. The women sing a Lucia song while entering the room, to the melody of the traditional Neapolitan song Santa Lucia; the , the various Scandinavian lyrics are fashioned for the occasion, describing the light with which Lucia overcomes the darkness.

After finishing this song, the procession sings Christmas carols or more songs about Lucia.

The current tradition of having a white-dressed woman with candles in her hair appearing on the morning of the Lucia day started in the area around Lake Vänern in the late 18th century and spread slowly to other parts of the country during the 19th century.

In the Lucia procession in the home depicted by Carl Larsson in 1908, the oldest daughter brings coffee and St. Lucia buns to her parents while wearing a candle-wreath and singing a Lucia song. Other daughters may help, dressed in the same kind of white robe and carrying a candle in one hand, but only the oldest daughter wears the candle-wreath.

The crowning of a Swedish town's Lucia.

The modern tradition of having public processions in the Swedish cities started in 1927 when a newspaper in Stockholm elected an official Lucia for Stockholm that year. The initiative was then followed around the country through the local press. Today most cities in Sweden appoint a Lucia every year.

Schools elect a Lucia and her maids among the students and a national Lucia is elected on national television from regional winners. The regional Lucias will visit shopping malls, old people's homes and churches, singing and handing out pepparkakor (gingerbread).

There are now also boys in the procession, playing different roles associated with Christmas. Some may be dressed in the same kind of white robe, but with a cone-shaped hat decorated with golden stars, called stjärngossar (star boys); some may be dressed up as "tomtenissar", carrying lanterns; and some may be dressed up as gingerbread men. They participate in the singing and also have a song or two of their own, usually Staffan Stalledräng, which tells the story about Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr, caring for his five horses.

There are now also boys in the procession, playing different roles associated with Christmas. Some may be dressed in the same kind of white robe, but with a cone-shaped hat decorated with golden stars, called stjärngossar (star boys); some may be dressed up as "tomtenissar", carrying lanterns; and some may be dressed up as gingerbread men.

They participate in the singing and also have a song or two of their own, usually Staffan Stalledräng, which tells the story about Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr, caring for his five horses.
Lucia bun, made with saffron.
A traditional kind of bun, Lussekatt ("St. Lucia Bun"), made with saffron, is normally eaten on this day.

Although St. Lucia's Day is not an official holiday in Sweden, it is a popular occasion in Sweden. The evening and night before (so called "Lusse-vigil") The Lucia Day is a notoriously noisy time. High school students often celebrate by partying all through the night. At many universities, students hold big formal dinner parties since this is the last chance to celebrate together before most students go home to their families for Christmas.

The Swedish lyrics to the Neapolitan song Santa Lucia have traditionally been either Natten går tunga fjät (The Night walks with heavy steps) or Santa Lucia, ljusklara hägring(Saint Lucy, bright mirage). There is also a modern version with easier text for children: Ute är mörkt och kallt (Outside it's dark and cold).