St. Lucia's Day: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

St. Lucia's Day is a holiday that begins the Christmas season in Sweden. In this lesson, learn the history of this celebration, and discover the foods and traditions of St. Lucia's Day.

Christian Martyr

Would you like to start celebrating Christmas on December 13? If you said yes, then you may want to travel to Sweden! This European country, along with some parts of Norway and Finland, begins the Christmas season with a holiday called St. Lucia's Day.

This celebration has been practiced for over four hundred years. It is a day to honor St. Lucia. She was a martyr, which means she died for practicing her religion. St. Lucia's Day, or St. Lucy's Day, is a Christian holiday and there are many special ways people enjoy this day.

Traditional Customs

St. Lucia was known as the Queen of Lights, and because of this, light is a big theme for the holiday. Each town or city chooses a girl to be the representative St. Lucia. She travels through the town with a wreath on her head, and there are candles on top of the wreath. Don't worry, the candles are battery operated and do not have open flames! However, long ago the candles actually were real.

The chosen St. Lucia wears a wreath with candles on her head
Christmas in Sweden

The St. Lucia representative wears a white gown and she travels through the town. She is followed by younger girls who may also wear lighted wreaths and white gowns. Younger boys follow as well, wearing white outfits that are similar to pajamas. This procession, or group of people walking, is done at night so the candles shine brightly. The hope is that even though the winter is a dark and cold time, the candles will provide everyone with happiness and warmth.

Foods and Festivities

What holiday would be complete without delicious food? There are some special treats that are prepared for St. Lucia's Day. Baked goods are often served for the celebration, including lussekatter. This is a type of roll made with the spice of saffron. It is usually served with coffee, and the job of serving belongs to the oldest daughter of the family.

Lussekatter is a sweet roll made with saffron and it is a traditional food of the holiday

Most schools and businesses close at lunch time on December 13. This gives families time to prepare for the festivities at night. There are traditional Lucia songs that choirs perform, and it is common to hear them on the radio on St. Lucia's Day.

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