It was high on my wish list: Attending a Lucia celebration in Sweden. When I heard that a Lucia concert is held every year in the wooden Bosebo church of Kulturen in the pleasant town of Lund, it seemed a beautiful and unique opportunity for my first Lucia celebration.
Luciaconcert by Bella Voce
The Bosebo church in Kulturen in the student city of Lund has for years been the setting of a highly appreciated Lucia concert by the Bella Voce choir. The number of tickets is limited (even though the concert takes place 4 times that evening) and the tickets are sold out in no time every year. On the Facebook event you see messages popping up from people who almost beg for a ticket. So I was very happy that I could be there. Thanks to Visit Lund and Kulturen I was even allowed to sit on a privileged spot so I had an optimal view.
Candles and Lucia celebration
At 19h they turned off the lights in the church and it became silent. The choir walked into the church, with Lucia in the lead. As the tradition goes, Lucia wears a crown in her hair with real candles on. The other choir members follow, also dressed in the white robe with a red bow. They wear a wreath in their hair and hold a candle in their hands. The only light in the church came from the candles of the choir.
It was such an intense moment that I am convinced that every time I hear the song of Sancta Lucia, I will again be touched by the beautiful ceremony in that little wooden church in Lund. The choir performed more than 40 minutes of songs linked to Sankta Lucia and Christmas. Most of the songs were in Swedish, some in English. It was a truly breathtaking experience.
In the Bella Voce choir there are only ladies who either study or have studied at the University of Lund. This four-part ladies’ choir really brought magic. Their voices blended incredibly beautiful. If you are not in Lund around Lucia or can not get tickets for their Lucia concert, I can only recommend going to one of their other performances.
I had been to Lund a few times and visited Kulturen before. I had already been in the Bosebo church and was impressed by this old wooden church. The Bosebo kyrka (= church) comes from Småland and dates from 1652. In 1894 the church would be demolished and replaced by a larger church. Luckily Kulturen could buy up the church, move and rebuild it in the open air museum in Lund.
The church organ (where I was allowed to sit very close to during the Lucia celebration) dates from 1773 and still works completely. When you look up, you see the painted ceilings (painted by Sven Nilsson Morin), also in good condition. The pulpit (1781) was decorated in rococo style by the same artist who did the painting. The church still serves as a setting for, among other things, baptism and marriage celebrations. More about the church can be found on the Swedish website.