wikiHow to Celebrate St. Lucia Day

Also called Saint Lucy's Day, St. Lucia is a church feast day, celebrated on the 13th of December.[1] The festival is usually associated with Scandinavia, but can be celebrated all around the world. During the celebration, Saint Lucy comes into the procession as a young girl or woman wearing a crown of candles, followed by many other young girls, each of whom has a lit candle in their hand. The story is that Saint Lucy secretly brought food to persecuted Christians in Rome, who were forced underground into the catacombs. Lucy would wear a crown of candles so she could use both of her hands to carry items. Lucy also means "light," and December 13th falls close to the winter solstice, so the name "Lucy" also has much significance.


  1. Image titled Celebrate St. Lucia Day Step 1
    Schedule the day. Ask some kids in the neighborhood if they want to participate, and their parents might also like to come and see them while they're walking with the candles. Spend a little time giving background information to the children so that they can understand the point of Saint Lucy's Day (see "Tips").
    • Be sure to schedule the celebration for the evening, when it's already dark. This will strengthen the effect of the crown of candles that the lead girl wears.
    • Find an appropriate place, with sufficient space. It could be in your garden, or in one of the parent's gardens. It could also be celebrated in a church or similar recreational area.
    • Be sure to tell the kids who will be participating, or their parents, that they should wear completely white clothes, as this is an important part of the tradition.
    • Select one girl to be the main girl. She will wear the crown of candles and lead the procession. If desired, you can also select one boy to wear a star boy hat.
  2. Image titled Celebrate St. Lucia Day Step 2
    Make the Lucia Crown. This is fairly easy to make; just be sure that it is sturdy and strong as it needs to hold the candles in place on the main girl's head.
    • Form a circle of evergreen branches — Lingonberry branches if you want to use what the Swedes do. Measure the main girl's head to get the correct circumference on a template and follow the template with the evergreen branches. Use florist wire to keep the branches in place if needed.
    • Insert seven candle holders into the circle of evergreen branches. Insert white tapered candles of a small size, or use battery powered light bulbs shaped as candles (these are considered much safer than lighting real candles on a person's head).
    • Be sure to check that the candles won't fall off the head of the girl who will be wearing it. Try the whole thing on her head, including candles (unlit if using real candles), and make necessary adjustments before the event. If using artificial candles, test that they are working properly before the event.
    • Additionally, find lots of other white candles for the other kids who will be holding them in their hands.
  3. Image titled Celebrate St. Lucia Day Step 3
    Make traditional food and drink to serve to the guests. The tradition for Saint Lucia's Day is to serve a Lucia bread, Lucia buns, and a drink of Juleglögg:
    • Read How to make Lucia bread for instructions on making the circular bread also known as St Lucy's crown.
    • Read How to make Saint Lucia buns or bread (lussebullar) for instructions on making the saffron buns that are served to everyone on this occasion.
    • Read How to make Swedish glögg for the instructions on making this alcoholic beverage. (It can be non-alcoholic.) Coffee and juice is also acceptable.
  4. Image titled Celebrate St. Lucia Day Step 4
    Learn the song and teach it to the kids. Listen to the Lucia song in Swedish here. The words of the English version would be:
    • Saint Lucia, bright clear mirage,

      spread in our winter splendor of your beauty.

      ||: Dreams with wings rustling over us prophesy,

      light your white candles, Santa Lucia.

      Get your white robe, gracious with your call.

      Give us, you Christmas Bride, an idea of Christmas.

      ||: Dreams with wings rustling over us prophesy,

      light your white candles, Santa Lucia.
  5. Image titled Celebrate St. Lucia Day Step 5
    On the evening of celebration, celebrate in traditional fashion. The celebration traditionally goes as follows:
    • Gather all the kids in a half circle, with the main girl in the middle. Gather the parents who will be watching.
    • Light all the candles and turn off all artificial lights. Give the kids a sign so they start singing the song. It might be a good idea to have the lyrics of the song printed out on paper for each of them, especially if they haven't had much practice.
    • Film the event and take pictures of it, so that you can create a good memory. Email these images to their parents after the event.
    • If you want to, go around your neighborhood serving traditional coffee, saffron buns, and gingerbread cookies to families. You can also visit a local charity or hospital and do the same.
  6. Image titled Celebrate St. Lucia Day Step 6
    Hold a Saint Lucia party. A lovely way to celebrate inclusively after the song is to hold a small celebratory party. Take everyone inside, and serve the Lucia Bread and glögg to kids and adults, if you are using glögg with alcohol, make sure to offer something else.
    • Decorate the table with evergreens, candles, and the food. Perhaps make another Lucia Crown to serve as a table centerpiece.
    • Have St. Lucy's Crown cake in the center of the table, and the saffron buns (lussebullar), ginger cookies (Lucia pepparkakor), and some sweets can be arranged across the rest of the table.


  • Read How to make a St. Lucia wreath for the instructions on making a paper version of the head wreath.
  • Use artificial candles to make it safer. Even if the main girl is old enough and responsible enough to handle real candles, accidents can happen when bumped or brushing against decorations, etc.
  • If you are using real candles, make sure to have a wet towel under the crown and water nearby.
  • Talk to the kids about the background to St Lucy's Day. It is celebrated in Scandinavia, namely Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland. It is also celebrated in Italy. It is said to have originated as a way of celebrating a figure of late on the winter solstice in Scandinavia (December 13th). In older times, unmarried girls would ask St. Lucia to tell them who their future husbands would be on this day. Candles provide the illumination for promising that light will return after the darkness.
    • The Saint is related to the Scandinavian Country, Sweden; when in the Middle Ages the people of southern Sweden were starving. On the darkest day of the harshest winter, the Swedes saw a boat sailing toward them across Lake Vännern. At the front of the boat, as the legend goes, a beautiful maiden stood dressed in all white and glowing with an ethereal light. The Swedes witnessing this phenomenon also recorded that the boat had no oars, wind, or people to navigate it to the shore line. When the boat reached the land, St. Lucia handed out giant sacks of wheat to the Swedes until the boat was empty. The wheat lasted the Swedes all winter long, thus this is the story of how St. Lucia (Lucy) correlates with Scandinavia.


  • Be extremely careful if you're using real lit candles. It is not recommended to use lit candles near a person's head or hair.

Things You'll Need

  • Circle of evergreens
  • Many white candles (depending on how many kids are participating)
  • Ingredients for Lucia bread
  • Ingredients for Juleglögg
  • Juice for the kids
  • Lyrics of the song printed out on paper for all the kids
  • A camera or cell phone to film and take pictures

Sources and Citations

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