Lucia lights up the dark on 13th Dec Bookmark and Share

Monday, December 14, 2009

I knew from previous discussions with Swedish people that 13th December was ‘Lucia day’. I saw the odd ornament out on people’s sideboard or windowsill from previous Christmas’ when I visited Sweden, and I had seen the odd photo. All I really knew was that there’s a girl called Lucia who has candles in her hair. A bit like if you had never heard of Santa Claus before, all you would know from seeing some images is that there was this fat, unshaven man in a red costume.

Yesterday was ‘Lucia’ day in Sweden. I had been told that to see it on TV, you had to wake up at 7am. As you can imagine, on a wintery Sunday morning, I didn’t make it. So I assumed I’d missed Lucia for this year.

My new Swedish family however had other ideas…

Lottis making Swedish cakes

Lottis making Swedish cakes

David’s parents and sister were du to come over to our house and they were going to bake some traditional Christmas cookies and cakes, and do some ‘crafts’ like making some Christmas wreaths for the doors etc. So they came over for lunch, and we shared a lovely meal together, before then turning the kitchen in to a production factory, churning out lots of lovely things!

Me and Dave's mum making wreaths

Me and Dave's mum making wreaths

I decided to try my hand at making a wreath. It seemed like a smart thing to be doing to try and use up some of the hundreds and hundreds of Box plants we’ve got in the garden and I do actually like to see wreaths on the door at Christmas. I think they’re much more attractive than flashing multi-coloured lights of Santa or a blow-up giant Bart Simpson handing off the chimney.

 

Here’s a photo of my finished wreath. Not too bad for my first effort. But I’m not sure it would win any awards for design and taste. Nor am I confident how long it will stay together come the first storm! But it’ll do for now.

Betty the cat LOVED having lots of new exiting things to play with in the kitchen, like pins, wire, soil, spiders, newspaper! Very safe for a 16week old kitten. But thankfully she wasn’t harmed and had a great time.

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I’m not sure what the time was, maybe around 6pm (?), but I was working out in the stable with Dave’s dad when he quite suddenly announced “Oh shit, erm, I, I, need a shit!”. I thought it was a little odd, but guessed perhaps he must’ve been holding it and therefore really really needed to go in a hurry eventually. I continued to work. I then looked out the window a few moments later and saw him drive off in the car. This was the second time that evening because he popped off to buy ingredients from the local shop, so I thought nothing of it.

I slowly packed up my things and went back in the house. Dave’s mum was apparently picking more Box plant twigs and getting some fresh air because she was warm, and his sister had gone to take their dog out for a wee and walk.

20 minutes, later, they were all still out. No sign of Lottis walking napper outside. No sign of mum picking box plants, and Dave’s dad still “at the shop”. Only then did we think something was a little odd. Dave text his sister and she said look outside in 2 minutes. So we realised something was happening. Oddly enough, our first reaction upon thinking perhaps we have a visitor coming, was “yeeeikes, we ned to brush our teeth”. So whilst brushing, I looked out of the window down to the front of the driveway, and saw in the distance several people moving around.

We dashed out side to see more, and coming up the driveway there was a faint sound of singing, and the dim light of candles. Cassie, our little Bichon Frise, decided to leg it down into the darkness barking her head off to scare off the intruders. As they approached, it became clear. It was Lucia! Slowly walking up the drive and into the courtyard were more of Dave’s family and friends, all dressed in either Lucia costume, or Santa outfits. Holding candles, reading the words of Swedish traditional Lucia songs, and looking quite serious I thought.

I was laughing, as you can imagine, and trying to take photos at the same time. Dave looked rather ‘shocked’ although was trying to play it cool. The scene was quite surreal. Just a few moments ago we had been sat chatting and making cakes. Now we were stood outside, with a soft scattering of snow on the ground, and perhaps 15 people standing outside of our house, dressed in Lucia costume, singing Swedish songs to us. The singing continued for about 5 minutes, before anything was said. And then, whilst still singing, the parade went into our house. It was only then, that we got to see who was exactly singing and behind some of the costumes and meet people.

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Lucia-day-8

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I was a little distracted by Jarl’s costume (Dave’s dad) who I thought had come as the Klu Klux Klan. But I’ve since learned that this is the traditional costume for the males (usually young boys) on Lucia day… the Star Boy!!

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Lucia-day-10

Lucia-day-11 It was an excellent surprise not only to have our first Lucia celebration, but, also to see friends that we hadn’t seen for some time. We then sat around the table and all shared ‘fika’ (of course, it’s Sweden!), enjoying the cakes and cookies that had just been made and laughing about what had just happened and all the planning and secrecy behind it. Apparently it was all the idea of Dave’s mum, and had been planned for some 2 months.

For those of you who don’t know what Lucia is all about, like me, then you could read all about it here on the official Sweden.se website. If you can’t be bothered, then here’s a snap-shot from the site….

“…a day associated with the Italian martyr, Saint Lucia. Many Lucia events stay true to tradition with Lucia donning real candles in her hair, although a switch to a battery-powered version is increasingly common.

The white-clad Lucia brings her choral entourage, a sprinkling of joy, a sensation of light and, more practically, coffee and saffron buns (see the recipe on the right) to her audience. Legend has it that the original saint helped poor and needy Christians by bringing them food and drink.

Candles are must-have accessories in Swedish homes. In December four advent candles are often lit, one at a time, in anticipation of the birth of Jesus. Advent is also the time to switch on the electric candlestick, a popular Swedish ornament, usually with seven candles set in pyramid form, which was actually invented by a Swede, Oscar Andersson, in 1934.”

A very enjoyable evening, and one I won’t forget in a hurry. Thank you to those who made all the effort for us 😀

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Comments (5)

 

  1. Louisa says:

    OMG that sounds great – Dave has such a lovely family your both so lucky to have such caring friends and family to do things like that for you. So special and something you’ll always remember…
    Never heard of it so I’ve learnt something today and love reading your blog and seeing your piccies.
    xxxx

  2. Lizette says:

    Hay, this lookes really nice. Your new home is a house with a lot of charm I think. I hope you like it here in sweden. I wish you all a happy christmas ! sorry for my bad english and spelling… a big hug from me and my family .

  3. Andy says:

    Looks like you have settled really well, it looks great, hope you both have a great Christmas.
    Have you grown a beard to keep warm in the Sweedish winter?
    Andy & Jayne.

  4. admin says:

    Designer stubble! Or somet would call it “unshaven”. But beard, NO!

  5. admin says:

    Thanks for the message Lizette…

    We had a great christmas and are looking forward to New Years now!

    We need to talk to you soon if possible, with regards to some land we’re considering buying/renting. Could you email your phone number to us perhaps? Using the CONTACT US link at the top of the page. Many thanks, Jon / David x

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