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Saint Lucy's Day, observed annually on December 13, is a Christian holiday that commemorates Saint Lucy and falls before Christmas. It marks the year's shortest day in terms of daylight, symbolizing the light of Christianity and signifying the beginning of the Christmas period and the advent of Christ's light. According to the traditional Swedish calendar, this date is considered the longest and darkest night of the year. Following December 13, the nights begin to grow shorter and the days gradually lengthen, symbolizing the return of light. In Sweden, this day is celebrated as the Festival of Light.


Legend has it that Lucy was the wife of a Roman Empire official, born around the 2nd century, and was a devout Christian. At that time, the Roman authorities despised Christianity and had Lucy's eyes gouged out. Despite her misfortune, Lucy continued to pray devoutly for light and eventually, a miracle occurred: Lucy regained her sight. From then on, the kind-hearted Lucy was revered as a saint. Her legend was brought to Sweden along with Christianity. To commemorate Lucy, the Swedish people hold a festival in her name.


This festival, celebrated every year on the morning of December 13, is the most quintessentially Swedish of all festivals that pray for daylight. On Saint Lucy's Day, children in schools and churches across Sweden can be seen dressed in white gowns, holding candles. They would accompany a blonde woman also clad in a white gown and wearing a golden crown adorned with candles. Together, they walk and sing in the brisk winter night air of Scandinavia.