The triumph of light

December 13 is the festival of St. Lucia (which I have described on this blog before).

Throughout Sweden, choirs of girls and boys dressed in white and bearing candles sing lovely songs about hope and comfort. And for a few moments, we stop and listen to the message they bring.

They sing about bringing light and hope to the darkness of winter;

About warmth and compassion in the heart of coldness.

Lucia is a time of lighting candles and remembering that we are like those candles –

A small thing, but one that can light the flame of another.

And as we give light to another, our own light increases –

Spreading the beauty, no matter how insignificant we are.

It’s about remembering that after the dark, the sun returns –

Just like we do.

(Oh – and it’s also about drinking spiced mulled wine and enjoying saffron buns!)

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53 responses

  1. Sounds like a lovely tradition!!! The soft lights bring a warmth to your photos and I’m sure, to the tradition!

    Like

    December 13, 2010 at 17:43

  2. lovely, warming, comforting and perceptive. The mulled wine and saffron buns sound good, too!

    Like

    December 13, 2010 at 17:48

  3. What a beautiful tradition, I am sure it brings the spirits up for this time of year, Thank you for sharing, LadyFi

    Like

    December 13, 2010 at 17:54

  4. We had a Swedish exchange student one Christmas. And she incorporated several Swedish traditions into our family. It was awesome.

    Like

    December 13, 2010 at 17:59

  5. Happy Santa Lucia!
    I recall my first winter in Sweden i 1980, attending a class full of foreigners and I memorized the whole song and sang it, without understanding the words.;) It feels today like another life time…
    Enjoy the glögg and lussekatter.;))
    xoxo

    Like

    December 13, 2010 at 17:59

  6. I like what St Lucia represents. Thank you for sharing that!

    Like

    December 13, 2010 at 18:01

  7. We don´t drink spiced wine, but it is the season for apple cider here. Loved your lights! Great traditions you have.

    Like

    December 13, 2010 at 18:06

  8. Jen

    It is truly a beautiful tradition. I love that you celebrate light at the darkest time of year.

    I did make your special buns last year. Must dig out the recipe and make them again.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

    PS, not sure if CSN will ship to Sweden, but I will ask them.

    Like

    December 13, 2010 at 18:40

  9. What a splendid tradition! And how you’ve shared it.. you’ve spread the light … you have. As always.

    Like

    December 13, 2010 at 18:44

  10. Beautiful pictures, thoughts and traditions that have a deep meaning for all of us…I am touched by your words today and the fullness of their truth. Thank you. XX Enjoy the festival and of course the wine! 🙂

    Like

    December 13, 2010 at 19:59

  11. Outstanding post! Your blog brings much light to us!!

    Like

    December 13, 2010 at 20:26

  12. I love the St. Lucia tradition. I wish I was Swedish!

    Like

    December 13, 2010 at 22:26

    • I’m not Swedish either… all you have to do is come visit or find a Swedish school to visit on Lucia!

      Like

      December 14, 2010 at 06:00

  13. ah beautiful pictures…esp the second and that lantern…and yes if we have nothing else to give…we always have the light to pass…

    Like

    December 13, 2010 at 22:45

  14. How lovely and festive. Certainly would get you in the spirit of the season — especially with the mulled wine.

    Like

    December 14, 2010 at 02:08

  15. Sounds like a wonderful time. Love the photos.

    Mason
    Thoughts in Progress

    Like

    December 14, 2010 at 03:19

  16. So beautiful — I remember the post about St Lucia’s day from last year. A beautiful Holiday tradition.

    One of our young adult Grandsons just returned from a visit to Sweden among other places — he visited a friend in Lund and Stockholm. He mentioned learning glog (?spelling) and saffron buns. One of the highlights for 20 somethings I guess ;>)– (there were more — he had some lovely pictures). We were glad he got to go.

    Like

    December 14, 2010 at 03:21

  17. Cloudia

    Thank you for this lovely and hopeful post

    Aloha from Hawaii

    Comfort Spiral

    >

    <

    Like

    December 14, 2010 at 03:52

  18. Time passes as I remember this tradition from your daughter holding a candle last year. Your photography is gorgeous.

    Like

    December 14, 2010 at 04:06

  19. I have learned so much about Lucia today and I love it! As always, Ladyfi, you bring so much beauty into my evening, it is a lovely blessing before I go to sleep as well as to start my day and I am most appreciative! Have a beautiful week!

    Sylvia

    Like

    December 14, 2010 at 05:47

  20. so beautiful……………

    Like

    December 14, 2010 at 08:18

  21. Beautiful shots. The last two are too good.

    Like

    December 14, 2010 at 08:39

  22. Oh that fogged up window in the second shot is amazing!

    Like

    December 14, 2010 at 09:58

    • Thanks – it’s the church window: taken from the outside, looking in.

      Like

      December 14, 2010 at 10:00

  23. beautiful photos. the last two shots are truly captivating.

    Like

    December 14, 2010 at 10:11

  24. Gorgeous photos. You have real, snowy Xmas in Sweden, I have it underneath the palm trees.

    Like

    December 14, 2010 at 11:48

  25. “And as we give light to another, our own light increases “….
    I agree wholeheartedly with that!!
    Jeg haper at du skal ha en gledelig jul!

    Like

    December 14, 2010 at 12:34

  26. When I lived in Sweden (Umeå for 5 years!), I really enjoyed St. Lucia, though it’s bit scary to see girls with candles on her head walking and singing a beautiful song.
    Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful day.

    Like

    December 14, 2010 at 15:28

  27. sounds lovely
    your photos are stunning
    I love the frosty glowing window

    Like

    December 14, 2010 at 15:30

  28. Lovely shots and the words that accompany are so soothing. Great post.

    Like

    December 14, 2010 at 15:41

  29. Beautiful pictures ! I completely forgot about Santa Lucia, but it’s celebrated here at the Swedish school which is located in Waterloo !
    Each year we are all invited.

    Like

    December 14, 2010 at 17:03

  30. a beautiful tribute to St. Lucia. i love the symbolic candle, and the candleholder. and the pink-tinted sky and water are lovely.

    Like

    December 14, 2010 at 17:33

  31. what a wonderful tradition. i hope the next generation continues to follow it and perpetuate it.

    Like

    December 14, 2010 at 19:04

  32. It sounds and looks as though you are enjoying and celebrating the season in a wonderful way. Wonderful photos.

    Like

    December 14, 2010 at 19:38

  33. i´ve always thought that this is a beautiful tradition. 🙂

    Like

    December 14, 2010 at 20:32

  34. Spectacular!

    Like

    December 14, 2010 at 20:52

  35. Happy Tuesday!

    Like

    December 14, 2010 at 23:54

  36. Clive

    Loved reading about the celebration of St Lucia. Photos and words were wonderful.

    Like

    December 15, 2010 at 00:11

  37. I remember those saffron buns your husband made last year – yummy! All your photos of light are wonderful, Fi, but the small window without the intricate shadows is my favorite.

    Like

    December 15, 2010 at 01:09

  38. I am really loving those window photos!

    Like

    December 15, 2010 at 02:18

  39. What wonderful images all up and down the page!
    I too loved the windows and the light. 🙂

    Like

    December 15, 2010 at 02:39

  40. What a lovely tradition. In India too, we have two festivals celebrating light, both in winter- it is only after reading your post that I can guess at the significance.

    And fantastic photographs, as always.

    Like

    December 15, 2010 at 04:15

  41. So so lovely tradition from your country 🙂
    Rerally wonderful shots today !!!

    Like

    December 15, 2010 at 07:15

  42. fIONA!!!!

    Sweden is c ountry full of tradition. It is very nice and the Christmas could be a time to start a very good reflection about the life with and without light.
    God Jul!!!!

    Like

    December 15, 2010 at 14:13

  43. thanks so much for stopping by and commenting on my blog ~ i have to go thank hillary 🙂 your post made me aware of the POTW, i love your photos, especially the branch covered in frost! i look forward to reading & viewing more when i can sit still and indulge ~ nice to meet you

    Like

    December 15, 2010 at 16:34

  44. Happy Wednesday!

    Like

    December 15, 2010 at 20:30

  45. Beautiful pics… thanks for sharing. Happy holidays!

    Like

    December 16, 2010 at 01:34

  46. I love the feeling that the atmosphere of your photos creates.

    Like

    December 16, 2010 at 03:07

  47. A beautiful tradition and your photos are so evocative of that spirit of light and comfort.

    Like

    December 18, 2010 at 12:56

  48. These photos, though diverse, go so well together. Light seems so important this time of year.

    Like

    December 19, 2010 at 02:09

  49. Hi Lady Fi, You have outdone yourself once again! I remember this beautiful festival from other years..it is a lovely tradition..I would like to celebrate the light too..these dark days are so depressing:)

    Like

    December 19, 2010 at 13:49

  50. “Lucia is a time of lighting candles and remembering that we are like those candles –
    A small thing, but one that can light the flame of another.
    And as we give light to another, our own light increases”

    That could easily be describing our Christmas Eve candlelight services, when light is passed from candle to candle until the room is glowing with lit-up faces — all singing “Silent Night.”

    Like

    December 19, 2010 at 20:45

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