Holiday – Sweden

“So it’s on December 13th and my mom wakes me and my sister and my brother up early in the morning, um, before my dad wakes up and we, um, me and my sister dress in white gowns and we have a crown with, um, lights on that are… lit up I guess? and my brother also wears, um, like a hat, a pointy hat… kinda like a magician’s hat it kinda looks like that and uh, we all go upstairs with freshly baked bread and we wake up my dad with a song and bread. My mom usually sings it. The song is sung in Swedish. My mom’s uh half Swedish, half American, and she grew up in Santa Barbara, California but since her mom was Swedish, her mom brought a lot of the Swedish culture into their family. So this celebration has been taking place for at least two generations in my family. One of the stories is that um on Santa Lucia which is December 13th, this woman came to Sweden um with lights, with actual, like, real lights on her head, like candles and she had bread to give to the poor. No one really knew where she came from but she was dressed in white and everyone just kinda saw her as a savior, an angel or something that helped them. So the crowns we wear…well, now they have like battery-powered lights but they symbolize the crown that she wore. It’s just something we do every year and it symbolizes the spirit of Christmas in the form of like sharing and caring with others.”

I think the costumes, the baking of the bread, and the song are an effective way for the Swedish people to remember Santa Lucia because they are reenacting the past. I also agree with Anais that this holiday is also a good chance for families to teach important values to children such as the idea of helping others because the story of Santa Lucia honors a woman who gave bread to the poor. It is also reasonable to argue that this holiday creates gender roles because traditionally the girls are the ones who bake the bread so it instills the conception that females are responsible for preparing the food.