This is the third week of Advent which is “Love”… Since it’s December 13th, it’s also St. Lucia’s Day, as celebrated in Sweden.

A popular saying associated with this holiday is:

Lucy Light,
The Shortest day &
The Longest Night.

The biggest and longest holiday of the year is the magical Christmas of Sweden.  One of the biggest celebrations is St. Lucia’s Day (or St. Lucy’s Day) on December 13th.

The Swedish Lucia is a bearer of light…literally.  She wears a crown of candles in Lingonberry branches which are evergreen and symbolize new life in winter. On December 13th the whole country is lit up as Swedes mark Lucia Day.  It is a day associated with the Italian martyr, Saint Lucia, a young Christian girl who was killed for her faith in 304 AD.  Lucy means ‘light’ so this is a very appropriate name.

The most common story told about St Lucia is that she would secretly bring food to the persecuted Christians in Rome, who lived in hiding in the catacombs under the city. The reason she wore candles on her head was so that she had both her hands free to carry things.

December 13th was also the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, in the old ‘Julian’ Calendar, so a pagan festival of lights in Sweden was turned into St. Lucia’s Day.

Many Lucia events stay true to tradition with a girl dressing in a white dress with a red sash round her waist and a crown of candles on her head, although a switch to a battery-powered version is increasingly common, for obvious safety reasons.

St Lucia’s Day first became widely celebrated in Sweden in the late 1700’s, and is also celebrated in Denmark, Norway, Finland, Bosnia, and Croatia.

You can see why the song Sankta Lucia is one of the most popular carols to sing. It has a beautiful, haunting melody and it’s all about the long night and the return of daylight. Here’s one version of Sankta Lucia in Swedish, with an English translation:

Natten går tunga fjät
Night Walks with a Heavy Step
Natten går tunga fjät
rund gård och stuva;
kring jord, som sol förlät,
skuggorna ruva.
Då i vårt mörka hus,
stiger med tända ljus,
Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia.
Night walks with a heavy step
Round yard and hearth,
As the sun departs from earth,
Shadows are brooding.
There in our dark house,
Walking with lit candles,
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia.
Natten går stor och stum
nu hörs dess vingar
i alla tysta rum
sus som av vingar.
Se, på vår tröskel står
vitklädd med ljus i hår
Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia.
Night walks grand, yet silent,
Now hear its gentle wings,
In every room so hushed,
Whispering like wings.
Look, at our threshold stands,
White-clad with light in her hair,
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia.
Mörkret ska flykta snart
ur jordens dalar
så hon ett underbart
ord till oss talar.
Dagen ska åter ny
stiga ur rosig sky
Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia.
Darkness shall take flight soon,
From earth’s valleys.
So she speaks a
Wonderful Word to us:
A new day will rise again
From the rosy sky…
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia.

And now, some quotes for Quotable Sunday  I’ve found some great quotes on ‘Love’…enjoy! 

“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.”
Morrie Schwartz

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”
Mother Teresa

“Love is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning.”

“Love doesn’t make the world go ’round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.”
Franklin P. Jones

“Love is much like a wild rose, beautiful and calm, but willing to draw blood in its defense.”
Mark Overby

“Love isn’t finding a perfect person. It’s seeing an imperfect person perfectly.”
Sam Keen

Quotable Sunday is brought to you by Toni, from A Daily Dose of Toni – why don’t you join us?

Mothers Day Gift Ideas

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  1. How beautiful! I have many Swedish friends, and I never knew the details behind St. Lucia's. Makes me feel like drinking some glogg!

  2. Great post again today! I love the advent candles. Is that on your table? I said I was going to make one for us, but couldn't find the candles I wanted. I will plan ahead for next year!

    St Lucia's Day is an interesting holiday. I love the candle "crowns".

    My favorite quote – “Love isn't finding a perfect person. It's seeing an imperfect person perfectly.”
    Sam Keen

    Have a wonderful day. I bet PN is getting excited!

    It's a great day to stay inside… I hope Tara will agree. Maybe I'll break out the "cookie press" and make some Spritz cookies.

  3. This was an excellent post, full of interesting information about other's traditions.. Good job!

  4. what a cool story about lucy…and beautiful pics. and the love quotes…smiles. hope you had a great weekend!

  5. Love is such a great subject for the Christmas holiday!
    Found this quote that I have never read before!
    “Love isn't finding a perfect person. It's seeing an imperfect person perfectly.”
    Happy QS Stacy

  6. The love quotes are beautiful!

    This one really grabbed me:
    “Love isn't finding a perfect person. It's seeing an imperfect person perfectly.”

    {and sooo true!!}

    Happy Sunday!!

  7. How truly beautiful…I had never heard this, thanx so much for sharing something new with me;)

    peace and light to you and yours;)

  8. I learned something new today. Thank you. I had seen a picture of candles on her head, but I didn't know the meaning behind it until now.

    The quotes are so true, especially the last one by Sam Keen.

  9. Very interesting! Thanks for teaching me something new today. I love the quotes! Peace and joy to you and yours today. XX Lori

  10. How fascinating! Thank you so much for sharing the history of this culture! I was unaware of most of the details and really enjoyed this post. What a beautiful celebration. I'm sharing this with my kiddos.

  11. I have always found it so fascinating to learn of the other holiday traditions. Thanks for sharing this!

  12. Thank you for the St. Lucia's Day lesson, I also had not heard of it and always like to hear of other country's traditions!
    All of you quotes on Love are wonderful! One of my favorite topics of course. This one jumped right out at me today:
    “Love isn't finding a perfect person. It's seeing an imperfect person perfectly.”
    I always say my Hubby isn't perfect, he is just perfect for me!!

  13. I am Finish and Swedish. I just got home from a Lucia celebration at church.

    Thanks for sharing this. Lucia is a great celebration.

  14. thanks for the history lesson on Santa Lucia. Although I have to tell you something. Every time I hear Santa Lucia I think of An American Werewolf in London 🙂

  15. Very interesting learning about other cultures. I was looking at the candles "crowns" and thinking how pretty they are, but also thinking my hair would somehow probably catch on fire. Thanks for dropping by my blog!

  16. In second grade my teacher taught us all about this day and we celebrated it. I still remember it, it was wonderful.
    Thanks for coming by my blog.

  17. Just thought I'd share one of my favorite quotes – that really has to do with love . . .

    “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    It's one of the few I keep posted on my sidebar.

    My favorite part of visiting other countries and cultures is to learn of their traditions and holidays – so thanks for sharing this information – it's beautiful and fun!


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