On December 13, 2009 all over Sweden was celebrated one of the most inspiring and most popular Swedish holidays - the Saint Lucia Day (Luciadagen), in Latin the name Lucia means "light", and in Christianity is known the Holy Martyr Lucia of Syracuse, who is the patroness of the light and blind people. The celebrating of Luciadagen as a national holiday in Sweden has started not so long ago, more precisely in 1927, when the «Stockholms dagblad» newspaper held a contest among its readers for the best "Lucia".
Since then the St. Lucia Day gained a phenomenal popularity. Its own Lucia in Sweden in chosen in every town and village, school and university, in every office, even in kindergarten. The chosen Lucia dresses in a white dress with a red belt and on her head wears a crown, adorned with seven lit candles. After that, surrounded by other well-dressed people "the Saint Lucia" goes to the main church of the city, where on that day are held the festive service. During the procession Lucia, along with her retinue, treats everyone with mulled wine, coffee, ginger biscuits and specially prepared “luiccekater” cakes, which has gently yellow color because they are baked with saffron. In addition to the colorful ceremonial processions and church ceremonies, the festival is widely celebrated in clubs and bars, where for this day is prepared a special program.
The legend associated with the name of St. Lucia says that in the 4th century Lucia, who lived in Italy in the city of Syracuse, has refused to marry a wealthy heathen nobleman and took a vow of celibacy. The rejected fiancé started brutal persecution against Christian Lucia and wanted to send her to a brothel, but neither a cart drawn by oxen, nor a thousand men didn’t manage to move Lucia from her place. Subsequently, he wanted to burn the holy, but the fire also didn’t cause her harm, then the executioner killed her with his sword.
Another legend tells of the unprecedented cold weather, which happened in Sweden in ancient times. And when the cold was quite unbearable, the Swedes saw a beautiful ship sailing on the congealed lake Venern. The ship was driven by a maiden Lucia. She glowed with an unearthly light. So St. Lucia’s light and warmth helped the Swedes to survive during the period of terrible winter.