The triumph of light

Last week was the festival of St. Lucia.

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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88 responses

  1. big smiles…lovely pictures…and true words…there is alwasy the sun after the dark…and the dark at times helps us appreciate the light all the more…hope you week leading up to the holiday is beautiful…

    Like

    December 19, 2011 at 15:25

  2. Such a wonderful, beautiful holiday post from your world, Fiona! And, yes, the dark times can help us appreciate the light all the more! A great reminder! Wishing you a beautiful pre-holiday week for you and your family!

    Sylvia

    Like

    December 19, 2011 at 15:34

  3. Indeed, the 13th of December is a big celebration in Sweden, I miss lussekatter.;) Lovely images as always.;))
    xoxo

    Like

    December 19, 2011 at 15:42

  4. What a beautiful tradition! I love your photos, as usual.

    Like

    December 19, 2011 at 15:49

  5. Bob

    Smashing photos, especially the one in a lantern, superb.

    Like

    December 19, 2011 at 16:22

  6. We had a Swedish exchange student once, around Christmas time, and she did St Lucia. It was so fun!

    Like

    December 19, 2011 at 17:18

  7. TexWisGirl

    i do like your spin on how we are all lights to shine into the world. 🙂

    Like

    December 19, 2011 at 17:25

  8. What lovely words to accompany your photos.Have a good Christmas and New Year I look forward to following you in 2012.

    Like

    December 19, 2011 at 18:06

  9. The blues and purples in that icy heart are mesmerizing!

    Happy Holidays to you 🙂

    Like

    December 19, 2011 at 18:13

  10. Lovely shots especially second and third. Great post:)

    Like

    December 19, 2011 at 18:51

  11. Really love the first one, Fi…

    Like

    December 19, 2011 at 19:12

  12. Hey, just wanted to let you know that you are a Preliminary Nominee for The Dark Globe Outstanding Artist Awards Photographer of the Year Award, as Nominated by Phil… In the end, there will only be 5 Final Nominees in each of the 3 Categories, which will be determined on December 20th… If you make the Final 5 Best Photographer of the Year cut, Voting for the actual Awards will begin December 21st through December 31st… And the Award Winners will be Announced on January 1st… To see your actual Nomination,and for the Official Rules, you can go here http://thedarkglobe.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/the-dark-globe-outstanding-artist-awards/#comment-281
    Gratz, and if you make the Final Cut, Good Luck! Either way, Kudos for being Nominated

    DarkJade
    Editor/Creator/and one of the many Writers of The Dark Globe

    Like

    December 19, 2011 at 20:27

  13. Those middle two are just so lovely!d The post is lovely — as it always is.

    Like

    December 19, 2011 at 20:32

  14. Di

    Pass the Saffron Buns pretty please.

    Like

    December 19, 2011 at 21:09

  15. I enjoyed this post very much. All the shots are wonderful and the one of the heart in the snow was especially touching to me. I love mulled wine!

    Like

    December 19, 2011 at 21:16

  16. imac

    Brill post and pics – love the idea about the wine and buns too

    Like

    December 19, 2011 at 21:41

  17. A magical post finished off with spiced mulled wine and saffron buns – just delightful!

    Like

    December 19, 2011 at 22:04

  18. Hi There, Just stopping by to say Merry Christmas to you and yours. Save some Saffron Buns for me please!!!! ha
    Love,
    Betsy

    Like

    December 19, 2011 at 22:23

  19. sandy

    I just read about this festival yesterday. The idea of spreading the light is appealing.
    Hey, is that Oscar out there in the water?

    Like

    December 19, 2011 at 22:48

  20. Beautiful, as always. Mmmm mulled wine (though not here at the moment given our ever rising temperatures).

    Like

    December 19, 2011 at 23:13

  21. What a fantastic mix of photos. I couldn’t quite make out the first one. Original and beautiful though.

    Like

    December 19, 2011 at 23:53

    • The first is two girls in the Lucia parade, holding candles and singing.

      Like

      December 20, 2011 at 08:40

  22. All of these are lovely, but I especially love the heart drawn in the frost. Beautiful words to go with them, too! Thanks for the reminder!

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 00:18

  23. Lovely!

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 01:27

  24. oh yes

    Aloha from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral

    >

    >

    <

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 03:34

  25. Wonderful shots from interesting festival.

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 04:39

  26. Outstanding photos as usual. I worked with a man of Swedish descent and every year he and his wife would bake those St. Lucia saffron buns and bring them in to work. Delicious! Happy Holidays Ladyfi.

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 05:42

  27. Your photos have illustrated your words so well! Beautiful.
    “Spreading the beauty, no matter how insignificant we are” I like that.

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 06:07

  28. beautiful post!! loved it!

    Bozo is eating well but lethargic and even the slightest walkaround gets him panting…. Thank you for your concern and good wishes.

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 07:07

  29. What a lovely gift you have given us as we head into the Christmas weekend. Thank you (as always) for the wonderful gift that comes from your eye and your heart.

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 07:10

  30. I like the shot of the lamp… fantastic!

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 07:13

  31. Une magnifique serie, tres beau travail autour de la lumiere, avec une preference pour la 2eme

    Publicity ;o) Every Friday (and the Weekend), The Challenge “Walk In The Street Photography”

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 08:35

  32. Gratz, you are one of the 5 Finalists for The Dark Globe Photographer of the Year Award! Head here for more Info http://thedarkglobe.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/the-dark-globe-outstanding-arist-awards-finalist/

    DarkJade-

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 09:26

  33. Jenn

    Spice mulled wine and saffron buns… how interesting. Love your comparison of light a candle to our being the light.

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 09:31

  34. Beautiful photos, with a beautiful message of light and love.

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 10:15

  35. What a wonderful celebration of light!

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 10:32

  36. What a lovely celebration of light. Your photos are beautiful as usual. I love the lantern and the cute heart. The last shot is very pretty too. I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 10:42

  37. A beautiful celebration! Love that candle holder…and your words are the most beautiful!!

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 11:08

  38. I LOVE that window shot. Gorgeous. 🙂

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 11:33

  39. It sounds wonderful and magical – a highlight of winter!

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 11:44

  40. Love these beautiful images of light! The 4th image of the candleholder and last scenic image are especially beautiful!

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 12:11

  41. You have got lovely traditions in your country. I wish you a very merry Christmas, may the light soon return in this bleak world and may we be protected against disasters and diseases.

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 12:18

  42. The festival sounds fun. As you say, our light will grow each other with hope and joy.

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 13:30

  43. Sounds like a celebration filled with all things that tempt the senses. Lovely captures of your holiday, Fiona. 🙂

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 14:07

  44. JM

    All are beautiful but my favourite shot is the window.

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 14:25

  45. These are marvelous pictures. I really like the way you’ve captured the candle light. Lucia is a wonderful season, and you’ve captured the spirit very well.

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 16:10

  46. A beautiful Holiday and a beautiful post about it as always. Even tho I’m trying hard to catch up with my blog reading, I just had to go back to your original (I think) post about the day to see the candle procession again, I love this custom.

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 16:10

  47. Great post, I love what you did with the first photo. You caught the essence of the choirs. I like hearing about the Swedish traditions. Makes me think that over here we need to do more singing and less shopping.

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 16:17

  48. such a lovely culture and i enjoy all your photos.

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 16:34

  49. beautifully expressed Fiona. simply perfect. wishing you the most joyful of holidays and all the best in the coming year.

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 16:42

  50. Stemningsfulle bilder. Liker ekstra godt det første bildet.

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 17:50

  51. Love the colors and lights! Brings me into the spirit. Merry Christmas!

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 17:51

  52. These made me feel all warm and Christmasy!
    Love the soft lights, and the blue heart!

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 18:58

  53. Merry Christmas!
    Yes, after darkness sun appears and we should embrace the sunshine.

    Beautiful pictures!

    Love
    http://www.meghasarin.blogspot.com

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 19:32


  54. · Your photos are fantastic, as usual.
    I see you you know about St. Lucía but I prefer 22nd, at 5:30. Invictus Sun.
    Be happy and enjoy.

    · hugs

    … Happy Winter’s Solstice
    … the Sun wins the battle

    CR & LMA
    ________________________________
    ·

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 21:19

  55. Artisteri! Great series:-)

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 21:52

  56. Great series!! Boomer & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 22:01

  57. Lovely traditions!

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 22:34

  58. beautiful words and pictures!
    loved this post.

    what lovely traditions as well!

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 23:46

  59. Beautiful photographs illustrating a wonderful tradition. Hope you and those you love have a wonderful Vhristmas!

    Like

    December 20, 2011 at 23:59

  60. Christmas, that should be!

    Like

    December 21, 2011 at 00:00

  61. Reading and looking your blog,I feel My heart become warm.

    Like

    December 21, 2011 at 00:18

  62. Great post. I’m so glad you remembered the drink and buns!

    Like

    December 21, 2011 at 00:24

  63. Mmm, I could trade my share of the wine for my husband’s share of the saffron buns!
    The candles in midwinter are wonderful, and your photographs are like sunshine.
    Wishing you and yours the very best of the holiday season and the coming year.

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

    Like

    December 21, 2011 at 01:00

  64. Lovely interpretation of words through images Lady Fi, happy celebrations!

    Like

    December 21, 2011 at 01:20

  65. Goodness, these are gorgeous. Your images do more to bring me into the holiday spirit than anything else this year. Thank you.

    Like

    December 21, 2011 at 02:45

  66. Al

    Beautiful holiday photos and words. I hope you have a great holiday season, and that mulled wine sounds great!

    Like

    December 21, 2011 at 03:07

  67. Absolutely beautiful. Your light sure does shine.

    Like

    December 21, 2011 at 04:50

  68. how was the blue heart made? I thought a figure skater went over and over.

    Like

    December 21, 2011 at 05:13

    • My kids drew it on the icy windscreen of the car!

      Like

      December 21, 2011 at 05:29

  69. Those are nice customs Fi. I liked the last one too! 🙂 Dave

    Like

    December 21, 2011 at 08:41

  70. The Feast of St. Lucia is one of my favorites. Oh, and spiced, mulled wine and saffron buns are pretty good, too! Merry Christmas!

    Like

    December 21, 2011 at 10:52

  71. Such beautiful words and there is so much depth in your photos… absolutely love them!

    Like

    December 21, 2011 at 14:52

  72. Beautiful series, wonderful pictures only the first one I have no idea what it is 🙂

    Merry Christmas.

    Like

    December 21, 2011 at 17:02

  73. What a lovely tradition and your words and photos just expand its delight! Hope you are having a wonderful week filled with love and family!

    Like

    December 21, 2011 at 18:12

  74. Ash

    Gorgeous photos, as always. Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy Christmas!

    Like

    December 22, 2011 at 01:50

  75. i love the idea of a time for lighting candles as well as the spiced wine and yummy buns. thank you for sharing your photos and traditions.
    lovely holidays to you!

    Like

    December 22, 2011 at 02:54

  76. Lovely! I had to share it on facebook.

    Like

    December 22, 2011 at 03:11

  77. That sounds like a lovely tradition. Thanks for the gorgeous words and photos.
    Merry Christmas, xo jj

    Like

    December 22, 2011 at 04:50

  78. Wonderful. Wish you a Merry Christmas !

    Like

    December 22, 2011 at 08:21

  79. super post…really liked the lighting in all the shots; esp. the second and fourth.

    cheers,
    My Third Eye

    Like

    December 22, 2011 at 13:16

  80. When I lived in Finland as a child, I was once asked to Santa Lucia solo at a Christmas concert given by our school to war veterans. It’s a beautiful song, a beautiful festival. And you’ve given us a beautiful post. All the very best of the season to you, Fi…. including spiced mulled wine and saffron buns!

    Like

    December 23, 2011 at 16:57

  81. This is another fascinating post, ladyfi! Festival of St. Lucia is a lovely tradition. Now that winter solstice has passed, we are having more and more daylight, which makes us feel assured that spring is not far away. Let’s see quietly glinting things in the cold and the dark.

    Like

    December 24, 2011 at 07:23

  82. I love this tradition!!!
    So wonderful that it brings so much LIGHT to a dark winter!

    Like

    December 24, 2011 at 20:11

  83. Here is Norwegian soprano Sissel singing Vitae Lux for the Feast of Sancta Lucia, whom the Scandinavians have adopted because of the allegory of light: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8CXVcUQKHo&list=FLQ3g8ucVopUnY0d34BZnzDg&index=53&feature=plpp_video

    Many Lutheran parishes, especially those with Scandinavian parishioners do the Quempas celebration for Sancta Lucia:

    Typically, the choir is divided into fours and rotates around the nave with each verse.

    Like

    December 24, 2011 at 23:19

  84. Absolutely loved these. The last one is amazing.

    Merry Christmas to you. 🙂

    Like

    December 25, 2011 at 10:20

  85. This is beautiful! Both what you wrote and the accompanying photos filled me with warmth. Thank you! You are definitely a light and a delight.

    Like

    December 27, 2011 at 03:39

  86. I love traditions… and this one always called my attention! And now that you have shared such great photos about it- Hey, I am going to have to visit you one day around this time of the year. But promise to share the apple cider and saffron buns with me!!

    Like

    December 31, 2011 at 05:17

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