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The Swedish St. Lucia Tradition

Imagine a country where the sun never goes down. This is exactly how summer is in the north of Sweden. In winter it's just the opposite: the frozen earth sleeps under a thick snow cover and the sun barely makes it over the horizon before it sets again, and everything is covered in darkness.

This is period when a special guest arrives! On the morning of December 13, a girl in a white dress with a candle crown on her head visits almost every house in Sweden, as well as almost every school, church and workplace. This is the Queen of Lights St. Lucia with her maidens in her entourage.

It is told, that a long time ago she visited prisoners in dark cellars and brought them food and comfort. In order to have her hands free and to be able to carry as much as possible, she placed a wreath with candles on her head to lighten up the dark corridors.

The tradition to celebrate the day of Saint Lucia from Syracuse was probably brought to Sweden by Italian missionaries. The Legend of a young woman who brings light into the darkest time of the year and who sings hopeful songs, has been appreciated in Sweden ever since.

Jacoba Arekhi has a large repertoire of Swedish St. Lucia songs and since 2010 she has been performing every winter in various ensembles in a St. Lucia program. The St. Lucia Music and tradition has always been very important to her since her childhood. Together with Johann Putensen, she wrote arrangements of the songs for three female voices.

Watch: YouTube video from 2010

For concert requests please contact Jacoba:

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