15 December 2010

Saint Lucia's Night

Every year on December 13, each town in Sweden elects a girl to portray St Lucia. With a crown of candles on her head, she leads a procession of young women. The young women, in their beautiful white gowns, carry candles in their hands. It was commonly believed that the longest night of the year (ie. the darkest day of the year) was on December 13, which is why this event is held on this day annually.

I learnt all about this from David M, who led us on a very insightful experience of St Lucia in Malmo, Sweden. Apparently, the most beautiful girl is selected to portray St Lucia each year. My Swedish friend, Ester, claims she was overlooked in high school to portray St Lucia: she was the runner-up, and to this day, this has scarred her.

The ceremony took place in the centre square with the girls angelically singing many well-known carols. The city was so different compared to my last visit a few weeks ago. This time, it was decorated with countless beautiful lights, Christmas trees, an ice rink, and there was also a clear room in the city-centre which radio hosts resided in, in an attempt to raise money for charity.  While we stood outside to appreciate the carol-singing, the extreme cold eventually became too much for us to bear; our feet became numb and we were shivering. David then kindly brought us to a warm Caribbean-themed restaurant where we happily indulged in some exotic food whilst letting our feet thaw.


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