Santa Lucia

Background: Informant has a Norwegian background from his fathers’s side and was raised being told about these Norwegian traditions and holidays, and this anecdote was told to me in person.

Informant: It’s a Swedish tradition, it’s like mid-December. Saint Lucia was a martyr and her name is after lux, the Latin word for light. The Santa Lucia celebration is a celebration of light in mid-December when it’s really dark in the Arctic in Scandinavia. You sing this song about her and then you walk down the aisle and everyone carries candles and little lights. 

My informant sung a portion of the song as well for me.

Thoughts: It’s interesting what exactly is the most meaningful to different cultures in different parts of the year. For instance, in Scandinavia, it’s dark almost every hour of the day in the depths of winter, and it makes sense that Scandinavian people would want to celebrate light in the darkness. It’s also interesting to me how many Scandinavian countries have so much in common culturally—even though my informant is Norwegian, and not even from Norway, he has a lot of knowledge of other Scandinavian holidays and culturally important events because they’re all so related.