ON THE THIRTEENTH OF DECEMBER, when the darkness of the year is growing ever longer, this celebration of light is most welcome. Cities and towns throughout Scandinavia (and American cities with large Scandinavian populations) hold Lucia festivals filled with music and candlelight. The main attraction is always the Lucia procession, featuring a girl clad in a long white gown with a red sash and wearing an evergreen crown with towering candles. In family celebrations at home, one of the daughters dresses up as Lucia and serves her family coffee, gingersnaps, and saffron buns before the sun rises. Lucia Day reminds us of light and generosity, even in the darkness of midwinter.
Creating the Gathering
Lucia Day is traditionally a simple holiday. It isn’t ever meant to compete with or overshadow Christmas. Fresh evergreen branches instead of flower arrangements make the house look and smell fantastic. Since the holiday is a celebration of light, clusters of glowing candles sit atop white tablecloths, and store-bought paper lanterns shaped like stars hang from windows and light fixtures. Serve pepparkakor and lucia buns with coffee and cider for a casual Lucia Day celebration.