One of the things I want to do before I die is go back to Sweden for a nice long visit. Friends, this is the loveliest country EVER! I went with my Bible College friends Stephanie and Pernilla. We stayed with Pernilla’s family and friends all over Sweden for two of the most beautiful weeks of my life. I was so happy when my four babies all turned out to look like little Swedish beauties. (No Swedish blood mind you, German I think, but they still look like characters in a Carl Larsson painting!)
A charming Swedish tradition is the celebration of St. Lucia Day on December 13th. Last year I wanted to mention it on my blog but it coincided with finals week. And, yeah, that happened again, but – luckily – Pernilla wrote a short explanation of the day for me and I’m going to copy it here. I refuse to let finals week wreck ALL my holiday fun! Blog connection: Well, you’ll get it after you read the explanation, but Lucia is definitely a Rare Rock!
There once was a girl named Lucia. She lived in the city of Surakuse on Sicily in Italy. She believed in Jesus Christ and in God but the Roman emperor had forbidden all the Romans to believe in God. They were ordered to believe in the Roman gods such as Jupiter and Mars. Lucia prayed to God everyday but the only ones who knew this were her mother and her fiancÃ©.
One day Lucia’s mother gave her a great sum of money to use as she got married. Lucia thought she didn’t need the money and gave all of the money to the poor people of Surakuse instead. This made her finacÃ© very angry and he told her to take the money back. When Lucia refused, the finacÃ© reported her to the emperor as being a Christian.
The Roman soldiers came to take Lucia away but at first they were not able to get to her, there was an invisible wall all around her. Then they tried to burn her at the stake but the fire wouldn’t hurt her. Finally she was beheaded and died because of her faith.
This happened on December 13th in the year 304 and she was later proclaimed a saint.
The tradition now in Sweden is a mixture of an older tradition where people would walk around as beggars on December 13th and a German tradition where a girl was dressed up as Jesus on December 13th with a white dress and a halo of lights on her head. She would give gifts to the children.