The light in the dark

Last Friday, December 13th, was a special day – the festival of Lucia.

Every year around Sweden, churches are full of music and light.


It’s a very special feeling when the lights are turned off

And the Lucia procession enters the church.


The children sing their heavenly songs,

Faces lit by candlelight only —

Spots of dancing hope in the mid-winter darkness.

Lucia tåg

As they leave the church, the sun has managed to rise

Casting its golden glow on people and building alike.

It’s a wonderful and metaphorical festival

Reminding us that no matter how vast the darkness,

We must shine our own light.

Johannes Church

For more festive stories, please visit: Our World Tuesday.

88 responses

  1. bobbushell

    Very nice, the people inside, the darkness, love them.

    December 16, 2013 at 15:49

  2. I love the hallowed, holy silence which your photos inspire. Like many other churches we have a tradition in our church for a candle-light service on Christmas Eve.

    Also, last evening we had a neighborhood luminary event, which I think has Spanish, not Swedish, origins, but beautiful nonetheless. My blog post on Wednesday will feature this event with grandchildren. Thank you for inspiring me today with the loveliness of the season, Lady Fi!

    December 16, 2013 at 15:53

  3. Reminding us that no matter how vast the darkness,

    We must shine our own light.

    It’s a true but god take believers to the true light thanks for posting and have a great day my good teacher

    December 16, 2013 at 16:06

  4. I appreciate your message every bit as much as I appreciate your beautiful photos.

    December 16, 2013 at 16:09

  5. Candles lighting the darkness and illuminating the hope of children – quite beautiful. Happy Holidays to you and your family, Fi.

    December 16, 2013 at 16:11

  6. Our church in Dallas did something similar. I could never relax with everyone holding lit candles. But it is really beautiful.:)

    December 16, 2013 at 16:22

  7. Yes, I too, appreciate your message and beautiful captures for the day, Fiona! Thank you for sharing. The world in general needs to be reminded~ Hope you have a lovely week!!

    December 16, 2013 at 16:23

  8. What a warm and inviting church with children and candles. I miss the European churches with so much history. Living in California, you often find churches in warehouses and office buildings, even schools on Sundays. Very strange to me.

    December 16, 2013 at 16:44

  9. a beautiful ceremony.

    December 16, 2013 at 16:46

  10. Don

    The candlelight and those windows in the church make such a compelling and beautiful image.

    December 16, 2013 at 17:19

  11. Uppsala domkyrka är mäktig

    December 16, 2013 at 17:20

  12. nice…i love candle light ceremonies…watching the light gain strength and push back the dark….

    December 16, 2013 at 17:42

  13. I love absolutely everything about Lucia – it’s just so perfect. when I attended a Lucia day service, goosebumps prickled on my arms as the choir sang, and I found myself wondering if it was just because the song was beautifully sung or because the saint herself was somehow present.

    Your photo essay captured the essence and magic of the moment.

    December 16, 2013 at 18:15

  14. indrani

    Excellent photography! Love the capture of lights.

    December 16, 2013 at 18:18

  15. Although I am not religious, these photos stir something wonderful and primitive in my soul! Gorgeous! That’s all I can say.

    December 16, 2013 at 18:19

  16. How beautiful! This would be something to behold. I bet it was amazing.

    December 16, 2013 at 18:21

  17. Your wonderful photos are so fantastic and your words are very wise!

    December 16, 2013 at 18:25

  18. How fortunate you were to be able to photograph this.
    The lights are beautiful.

    December 16, 2013 at 19:06

  19. This is so beautiful. I once witnessed the celebration of Saint Lucia and it was so touching and lovely.

    December 16, 2013 at 20:05

  20. What a beautiful celebration…

    December 16, 2013 at 20:18

  21. Oh my gosh this is so beautiful…light always shines through the dark:)

    December 16, 2013 at 20:32

  22. Gorgeous church.. Love the stained glass windows… Beautiful!!!! We love Candlelight services —and usually attend a special one on Christmas Eve right before midnight. It’s very meaningful —to welcome in Christmas morning.

    Merry Christmas.

    December 16, 2013 at 20:43

  23. Så vackra och stämningsfulla bilder! Beautiful!

    December 16, 2013 at 20:45

  24. Läckra luciabilder från kyrkan!

    December 16, 2013 at 20:48

  25. How very, very beautiful. And I love the windows in that church…
    Thank you so much.

    December 16, 2013 at 20:52

  26. Very nice pictures! Me like. I know you are good at this in Sweden. We have also Lucia, but not so much
    Hope you have a great week:-)

    December 16, 2013 at 21:34

  27. beautiful! The Lucia I visited was in our library.:) My link goes to my post.:)

    December 16, 2013 at 22:06

  28. Pat

    What a lovely celebration.

    December 16, 2013 at 22:18

  29. Utrolig fine stemningsbilder. Luciafeiringen i Sverige er nok mye flottere enn her:)

    December 16, 2013 at 23:18

  30. nocolebolo

    Beautiful traditions that we maintain.
    You’re right, we should do our own light shine, light of goodness.

    · hugs

    · CR · & · LMA ·

    December 16, 2013 at 23:46

  31. that must be very special.
    And the windows with the light shining though are beautiful.

    December 16, 2013 at 23:53

  32. Beautiful images and captures. The lighting with the choir is just beautiful. Awesome post, have a happy week!

    December 16, 2013 at 23:54

  33. la lunga notte del grande Nord sembra svanire nella luce della speranza! Ho avuto la gioia di assistere a questa cerimonia in Stoccolma e ne sono rimasta commossa ed affascinata, ora la rivivo nelle tue bellissime foto, splendide quelle isole di luce all’interno della chiesa!

    la lunga notte del grande Nord seems to vanish in the light of hope! I had the pleasure to attend this ceremony in Stockholm and I was touched and fascinated, I now in your beautiful photos, beautiful those islands of light inside the Church!

    December 17, 2013 at 00:00

  34. Jim

    I would love to witness this ceremony, Fiona and I feel I have……thanks to you.

    December 17, 2013 at 00:16

  35. **We must shine our own light.**

    Lovely. Xxx

    December 17, 2013 at 00:57

  36. What a lovely celebration of light in the darkness of winter! Just wonderful!

    December 17, 2013 at 03:14

  37. Den svenske tradisjonen med Lucia er jo den eldste i Norden.
    Tro det var på slutten av 1970 tallet at en i Norge startet med feiring i barnehager og skoler.

    Flotte bilder fra en “varm” seremoni! Liker at det er “levende” lys!

    December 17, 2013 at 05:56

  38. Jenn

    What a beautiful festival and tradition. The candles in the dark is quite dramatic and I love all your captures.

    December 17, 2013 at 06:14

  39. Beautiful photos of the darkness and the candles.

    December 17, 2013 at 06:28

  40. beautiful shots.

    December 17, 2013 at 07:22

  41. Thank you for sharing this beautiful message with these images:) I love those church windows and the church building.

    December 17, 2013 at 07:58

  42. They all look beautiful. Lovely captures.

    December 17, 2013 at 08:04

  43. The candles and the stained glass are so peaceful. Lovely.

    December 17, 2013 at 08:31

  44. Nice pictures, wonderful lights, I love candles!

    December 17, 2013 at 09:20

  45. Captivating theme and photos.

    December 17, 2013 at 10:12

  46. so wundervoll
    eine schöne Sitte die mir SEHR gefällt
    DANKE für die schönen Momente
    mit einem LG vom katerchen

    December 17, 2013 at 11:11

  47. I’m not religious but I love the music and theatre. You have captured the atmosphere beautifully.

    December 17, 2013 at 11:22

  48. It sounds like a truly wonderful festival!

    December 17, 2013 at 11:56

  49. Beautiful!

    December 17, 2013 at 12:01

  50. Beautiful images and lovely thoughts

    December 17, 2013 at 12:30

  51. Magnificent captures. The one of the candles is just gorgeous. Wish I could take pictures like yours successfully. Lovely church.

    December 17, 2013 at 13:03

  52. What a nice fire. They make us warm.

    December 17, 2013 at 13:51

  53. Beautiful, loved the second shot.

    December 17, 2013 at 14:30

  54. Beautiful and so true ~ Lovely photos ~ thanks, carol, xxx

    December 17, 2013 at 15:10

  55. intéressante lumière à la dernière aussi

    December 17, 2013 at 15:21

  56. I learned about this lovely festival from you and am delighted to read about it again …. beautiful pictures and words of light (literally and metaphorically)

    December 17, 2013 at 16:44

  57. Wonderful post! And such beautiful symbolism…the twinkling candles against the darkness really is magical.

    December 17, 2013 at 17:15

  58. Wonderful shots of the lighting.

    December 17, 2013 at 17:18

  59. What beautiful pictures !

    December 17, 2013 at 18:05

  60. Very beautiful shots.

    December 17, 2013 at 18:59

  61. I love the candle headband… I think I need one of those


    December 17, 2013 at 20:06

  62. so beautiful

    December 17, 2013 at 20:11

  63. JM

    Great night shots and beautiful light at the bottom.

    December 17, 2013 at 20:33

  64. Pat

    A beautiful and touching tradition! Your photos are fantastic. I know that wasn’t easy…

    December 17, 2013 at 21:58

  65. I love every single one of your pics! and I learned little about the festival from reading Wallander:)

    December 18, 2013 at 00:04

  66. Great ceremony. Beautiful photos!

    December 18, 2013 at 00:55

  67. Al

    That looks like a wonderful festival – nice captures of it.

    December 18, 2013 at 02:36

  68. such wonderful images
    and thoughts
    yes, let’s shine our light!

    December 18, 2013 at 04:29

  69. Dancing hope in midwinter for sure:)

    December 18, 2013 at 12:12

  70. Absolutely stunning! Many thanks.:-)

    A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for you and your family.

    Greetings from London.

    December 18, 2013 at 15:49

  71. Wishing you a magical holiday season and all the good things in 2014!:)

    December 18, 2013 at 21:13

  72. I know how difficult it is to get those shots! Did you have them in tripod? And i am reminded when you said “we must shine our own light”, both literal and metaphorical. I have not been thoroughly cleansing my energy centers lately, so my light must be blurry! I should double time in energizing. Thanks for the reminder.

    December 19, 2013 at 02:27

  73. Beautiful photos LadyFi and I bet the glow inside the churches is a spectacle to remember.

    December 19, 2013 at 05:06

  74. how fabulous!

    ALOHA to YOU
    from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral

    December 19, 2013 at 06:06

  75. What a beautiful and moving ceremony!! Sometimes I wonder what it’d be like to celebrate Christmas in a country with a long history of tradition!! Or even to have a white Christmas! I won’t be getting that unless White HEAT counts!!! Enjoy your festive season – I look forward to seeing more pix!

    December 19, 2013 at 11:00

  76. Beautiful shots! Perfect lighting in the last one.

    December 19, 2013 at 13:58

  77. What a lovely cermony to see in person!:)

    December 19, 2013 at 21:33

  78. Sounds like a beautiful celebration. I wish I knew more about it, I remember reading a book as a kid about a immigrant Swedish family celebrating this.

    December 21, 2013 at 02:00

  79. wonderful series, very nice mood and photos, well done.

    December 21, 2013 at 08:43

  80. You never fail to post breathtakingly beautiful images no matter what the subject is.
    «Louis» being Lutheran, knows the Sancta Lucia service well. It is a Christmas highlight for him each year. His parish does the Sancta Lucia service to the Michael Prætorious setting of it. Here is Sissel with her angelic voice in a Santca Lucia service.

    December 21, 2013 at 20:28

  81. Wow, what a wonderful experience that must have been. It looks so festive and special. I love your photos, especially those taken in such low light. At first I thought this was done in night time, how interesting that it was in morning, before sunrise. Thank goodness the days get longer after today!

    December 22, 2013 at 01:04

  82. You have captured the spirit wonderfully, thanks for sharing.

    December 22, 2013 at 14:57

  83. Just beautiful!!

    December 26, 2013 at 18:48

  84. Love your photos, the use of light and dark.

    December 30, 2013 at 06:08

  85. What a beautiful and tender post Fi, you haven’t been popping up in my reader so I’m having a delicious catchup!
    The hope of light carried by children back into the light of the shrinking day. Our futures are in their hands:-)

    December 31, 2013 at 11:38

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