Santa Lucia Celebration

Foreigners in Finland Online Magazine
Photo by Juha Roisko

December 13 is officially St. Lucia's Day; a Christian tradition celebrated mostly in Scandinavian countries and Italy. This annual tradition is famous and favorite of most people as a symbol of bringing light in the darkness of winter, warming the hearts, and offering joy. The influential part of the St. Lucia celebration for their fans is the coronation of Lucia of Finland in the Helsinki Cathedral on December 13.

St. Lucia Day in Finland

There are several legends about St. Lucia, who brought food and aid to Christians by using a candle-lit wreath on her head to light up her way and carrying food with free hands. This commemoration is from the Catholic church and has lasted through Nordic countries, which are mostly are Lutherans.

Saint Lucia's Day is a popular celebration in Scandinavian countries. In Finland, Saint Lucia's Day or Luciadagen (in Swedish language) is a significant celebration mostly for the Swedish-speaking Finns. However, many Finnish-speaking schools and daycare centers celebrate Lucia's Day as well.

Saint Lucia is crowned at Helsinki Cathedral on December 13, she wears a white robe, has a candle-lit wreath on her head, and carries a candle. She parades through the city center while many people greet and wave at her with amiable smiles.

Other cities in Finland also crown their own St. Lucia's, such as Turku and Oulu.

A traditional pastry called Lucia-pulla is eaten during this celebration.