Holiday – Sweden

“So there is this one holiday around Christmas on December 13th called Santa Lucia.  It involves little girls and boys wearing a white gown and crown that has candles all around it. This is supposed to resemble St. Lucia. Then you are supposed to bring breakfast to your parents wearing the crown and the white gown.

St. Lucia was a kind woman who was killed by a man that she did not love. When she refused to marry him, he tried to burn her to death but because of her kind spirit, her prayers to God saved her life. However, though she survived this ordeal, the man then stabbed her in the throat. Even so, it was rumored that she survived for another day and continued to sing and speak beautifully.”

The informant, born in Sweden and grew up in Seattle, remembers bringing her parents breakfast and engaging in St. Lucia festivities when she was in elementary school when she was still in Sweden. She doesn’t recall how or why the story of St. Lucia relates to bringing parents breakfast but she just remembers enjoying dressing up and taking the day off since it’s a national Holiday in Sweden.

I don’t know much about Swedish culture, but judging from this Holiday alone, one would speculate that Sweden is a Christian country. When I asked the informant, she told me that indeed, most Swedish are Christian. Another example of how paradigmatic analysis of folklore allows us to understand a culture more thoroughly as a whole.