Lucia – Festival of Light
On the 13th of December, the Scandinavians observe the Feast Day of St. Lucy or Santa Lucia with a light procession simply called Lucia.
On this evening, young maidens dressed in white with a red sash, each carrying a candle, are led by a girl with a crown of lighted candles on her head. They distribute gifts of food and drink.
Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are practically the only countries in the world to commemorate this little known saint to such an extent. St. Lucy was martyred, her eyes gouged out, so commemorating this saint with a Light Festival is highly symbolic.
However, the root of this festival is more pagan than Christian. Lying close to the Arctic Circle, the winter months in these countries are long and dark. “Lucia” symbolizes hope and light as the winter solstice approaches, bringing a sense of relief that there is light on the horizon. This night is also associated with keeping the Devil away with bright lights for the coming of the Christ Child. Young people nowadays also organize all-night parties to keep the Devil at bay.
To celebrate Lucia, I made Plum Pockets, a traditional Finnish pastry filled with spiced plum sauce, served during Christmas. Marikka, a Finnish friend introduced me to this mouth-watering specialty. After you have tasted one, you ask for more. And more.
MY VERSION of Marikka’s Finnish PLUM POCKETS