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Celebrate Sankta Lucia in Skansen

Posted in Stockholm E by
Sankta Lucia in Skansen - Solliden

Sankta Lucia is one of my favorite Swedish holidays. When the choir starts Sankta Lucia, I immediately get goosebumps. In recent years I had the pleasure to experience some special Lucia festivities. My first Lucia concert was in the Bosebo church in Kulturen in Lund. Magic! But I will also never forget the morning concert in the hotel. Especially because it was so unexpected and at the same time so authentic. Also Skansen in Stockholm is a fantastic place to celebrate Sankta Lucia. They have been celebrating the light here since 1892.

All high times are true experiences in Skansen and Sankta Lucia is no exception. Skansen celebrates Sankta Lucia for several days. Of course on December 13th, but also often the weekend before or after (depending on what day December 13 falls). For 2021 this will be on December 11, 12 and 13. The nice thing about Sankta Lucia in Skansen is that during the weekend you can combine it with the Christmas market from Skansen. I have very fond memories of the past events in Skansen and look forward to going back every year.

There are several Lucia concerts in Skansen. The concerts in Seglora kyrka and Ordenshuset Brofästet (I didn’t attend the one in this second place myself yet, I hope it works out this year) are for a limited audience and I recommend waiting in line early enough. The concert of Sankta Lucia at Solliden in Skansen is on a large stage (in the same place as where Allsång på Skansen is recorded).

Read more about Sankta Lucia here!

Lucia concert in Seglora kyrka

Sankta Lucia in Skansen - Seglora kyrka

My favorite is the concert in the Seglora church (kyrka in Swedish). This old wooden church from Västergotland dates from 1729 and was moved to Skansen in 1918. During the concert, be sure to look up to the beautiful ceiling paintings. These were painted by the Swedish painter Sven Wernberg (1734–1735).

The doors open 20 minutes before the start of the concert. Everyone took a seat and suddenly it became very quiet. Goosebumps as the choir walked in, with Lucia leading the way. The concert lasted half an hour and the atmosphere in the church was almost magical!

Sankta Lucia on Solliden

I was tipped to stand a bit to the side of the stage when Sankta Lucia is celebrated in Skansen on Solliden. It was a chilly, gray day and the rain was beginning to seep through my coat. Just before that, I had warmed up with some fika and made sure I was back by the podium in time. Suddenly I heard a carriage driving up! The choir and Lucia were driven to the stage in a carriage drawn by horses from the Royal Stables. So nice!

The choir’s voices immediately warmed up the audience. Very nice to see how they celebrate the light. A boost in these dark days and yes, unbelievable but ten days after Sankta Lucia the days are finally getting longer again! The concert lasts about 40 minutes and is a nice end to a day at Skansen in a Christmas atmosphere.

Other Lucia concerts in Skansen

In addition to the above 2 Lucia concerts in Skansen, there is also a Lucia choir in the park. And if you want to know how Sankta Lucia was celebrated a century ago, you can visit Ordenshuset Brofästet in Skansen. Here too, the doors open 20 minutes before the start of the concert. The exact times of the concerts and celebrations can be found on the Skansen website.

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Sankta Lucia in Skansen - Seglora kyrka
Sankta Lucia in Skansen - Solliden
16 November 2021
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Sankta Lucia: Bella Voce in Bosebo church in Lund

Posted in Skåne E by
Sankta Lucia

It was high on my wish list: Attending a Sankta 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 university 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 a 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 and sang songs linked to Sankta Lucia and Christmas. Most of the songs were in Swedish, some in English. It was a truly breathtaking experience.

Bella Voce

In the Bella Voce choir there are only ladies who either study or have studied at the University of Lund. This 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.

Bosebo church

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.

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Sankta Lucia: Bella Voce in Bosebo church in Lund
13 December 2017
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Sankta Lucia, celebrate the light

Posted in Something Swedish by
Sankta Lucia

On December the 13th, Sweden celebrates Sankta Lucia, the celebration of light. The Lucia celebration literally brings some light into the dark winter months. Girls wear long white robes and wear candles in their hair. Everyone eats lussekatter or saffron rolls and gingerbread. In just about every church there is a celebration in which Lucia songs are sung.

The tradition

Following the tradition the children wake their parents on the 13th of December. They enter their parents’ room, sing Lucia songs and bring them lussekatter (saffron rolls) on bed. Also in the church there is a special celebration in which the Lucia choir sings the typical songs.

The girls (although today, in progressive Sweden, it can also be boys) wear long white clothes with a red ribbon and one girl, Lucia, wears a crown of candles. The boys are star boys and wear a star-studded item.

Every city chooses its own Lucia. A carriage usually brings Lucia to “lighten” the town. There is also a national election on television. A lot of Miss Sweden’s has started as Lucia. The Lucia election is an exception in a Sweden where they strive to treat everyone equal and not to rank. In 1927 Stockholm chose her Lucia for the first time.

Origin

There is some discussion about where the Lucia festivities come from. It would be called after Sankta Lucia of Syracuse, a martyr who died in 304 AD. She could still see, even though she had no eyes. The red ribbons that the girls now wear would be symbols for the blood.

Sankta Lucia took elements of the pre-Christian midwinter light festival. In the past, December 13 corresponded to midwinter, the shortest day of the year. Due to the calendar changes, this day changed, but Lucia’s name day remained.

Would you like to attend Sankta Lucia yourself? In Stockholm I recommend going to Skansen (with a concert in Seglora kyrka or on the Solliden stage). I also attended the Lucia concert in Bosebo Church in Lund. What a wonderful experience!

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Sankta Lucia celebrating light
13 December 2017
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