Santa Lucia/Swedish Christmas Traditions

Main Piece:


The following was recorded from the Participant. They are marked as PG. I am marked as DG.


PG: Every Christmas on like, I think it was December 6th something like that, the uhh the daughter in the house would put on a ring of candles on her head and bring in breakfast to the mom, and it was Santa Lucia day, which frankly I didn’t know much about, but we did it every Christmas. It was a Swedish tradition, and I learned it from my mom. Another one is we opened our presents the night before Christmas. She swore it was a tradition! She might have just been impatient. And every year I try to get you guys to do it but you always say no (laughs).





The conversation was recorded while sitting on a patio in Glendora, CA. The sun is setting and a group of us are sitting around all sharing folklore. The context for the tradition is that these are to be performed in the house of the family. The Santa Lucia one is performed in the morning, by the daughter, and the gift tradition was performed in the living room.




The interviewee is a 53-year-old father of two, who is married. He grew up in Los Angeles, before moving around, and finally ending up back in Los Angeles. He was raised by his mother alone, who is from Sweden. He comes from a religious background.




This is a tradition from Sweden. I find it interesting because although the interviewee’s mother is from Sweden, PG was born in America, so his only experience with Swedish traditions has been the same few that have been carried over by his mother from Sweden. These are not traditions that have been passed down to his children, showing the power of region for folklore. These traditions are fascinating because they are strictly part of the Swedish culture–it’s not like a more popular folklore item that is seen in most places by most cultures.


For another version of the Saint Lucia tradition, see Lucia Morning in Sweden by Ewa Rydaker (2014).