One of Sweden’s most famous and popular festivals are Lucia. It is celebrated every year on December 13 that is also the Lucia name day. All around Stockholm Lucia concerts are arranged, and you should definitely not miss the opportunity to see Lucia coming with song and music in the absolute darkest time of the year. The Christmas spirit doesn’t get any better than that.

Lucia is one of the few festivals in the Scandinavian protestant countries, which is named after a saint, Saint Lucia. She was the patron saint of Syracuse on Sicily, and suffered the martyr death in the year 304. The Swedish celebration has basically no connection to the Catholic saint, and the name of this festival, where the light is at the center, has come later than the actual celebration.

According to the Julian calendar (46 BC-1753 AD), the Lucia night on December 13 was the longest night in the Nordic countries. The darkness was then at its worst, and it was believed that supernatural beings were out devastating. Thus people tried to be awake all night, and invoke the light powers to bring the light backn. And the word Lucia comes from the Latin word lux, which means light. So we simply celebrate light, and the idea of Lucia night being the darkest and longest night lives on, even though the winter solstice is now on December 21-22 in our new calendar.

The current Lucia traditions spread from western Sweden to the rest of the country during the 1800s, and in 1920 a Stockholm newspaper started a contest to see who would become the Lucia of Stockholm. That was the start of a rapid spread throughout the country. Nowadays, the Lucia of Sweden are elected each year, where the Swedish people between October and December vote for the year’s Lucia. She is then crowned at Skansen.

If you want to celebrate this festival in Stockholm, and watch a Lucia parade on December 12 or 13, you have many possibilities.

Skansen

Lucia has long traditions at Skansen on Djurgården. Ever since 1893 the light festival has been celebrated here. This year you can see Lucia being celebrated as it would appear in the 1920s when the children of the choir Spektrumkören go in procession and appear on stage in the nice Brofästet Temperance Hall. You can also listen to traditional Lucia music in the atmospheric Seglora church, where the Lucia procession is made up of students from music classes. Additionally, you can find out more about Lucia traditions at Bollnäs House where the original Lucia celebrations at Skansen was held. The main Lucia concert will be held on the Solliden Stage on the evening of 13 December. See Skansen’s website for more information.

Dates: December 13 and 14
Website: skansen.se/en

Blå Hallen

If you want to experience a magically beautiful Lucia concert with choral singing a cappella you should visit Blå Hallen in the City Hall on December 13. The concert will be performed twice, at 5 PM and at 8 PM, by 250 singing youngsters from Stockholm music gymnasium and Kungsholmen’s gymnasium. All the candle lights against the warm red brick walls of Blå Hallen in combination with the singers’ movements in the room will for sure give you Christmas spirit and a nice memory.

Date: December 13
Website

Engelbrekt Church (Engelbrektskyrkan)

Choirs from Adolf Fredrik’s Music School and the School of Music Junior Academy are doing the singing and music when the Engelbrekt Church traditionally invites us to Lucia concerts. Three concerts are given: December 12 at 7 PM, December 13 at 4 PM, and December 13 at 6 PM.

Dates: December 12 and 13
Website: svenskakyrkan.se

Oscar Church (Oscarskyrkan)

In Oscar Church Lucia concerts have been held since 1996, and this year is no exception. The Oscar oratorios and youth choirs perform, and you will for sure get to enjoy the atmospheric music and beautiful singing. Two concerts are held; December 13 at 4 PM and 6 PM.

Date: December 13
Website: oscarsforsamling.se

Katarina Church (Katarina Kyrka)

The Katarina Church in Södermalm is also having Lucia concerts with the church’s children and youth choirs. The concerts will be held at 6 PM and 8 PM on December 13.

Date: December 13
Website: svenskakyrkan.se/katarina

Storkyrkan

On December 12 at 7 PM you can enjoy a Lucia concert with Adolf Fredrik’s Music School and the Stockholm music gymnasium in the great church Storkyrkan in Old Town. The following day two Lucia concerts with St. Jacobs Youth Choir will be held at 2 PM and 4 PM.

Dates: December 12 and 13
Website: stockholmsdomkyrkoforsamling.se

We wish you a pleasant Lucia in Stockholm!