The Italian Legacy of Sweden: Santa Lucia

Santa Lucia

SantaLuciaSiracusa

When Hilary (aka Missfoster) asked us writers in Sweden who would like to write an article on Santa Lucia’s Day I thought that it wasn’t something for me.

“This is my first Santa Lucia in Sweden in my whole lifetime and I dunno much about it, maybe somebody else like a Swede should write about it, not an Italian!”

And I thought that Thomas did an excellent job already with his post on Lucia

The only thing I know about Santa Lucia in Italy is a funny rhyme:
“Santa Lucia, il giorno più corto che ci sia.”
Which means “Saint Lucie, the shortest of the days”, if referred to sunlight makes perfect sense both in Italy and Sweden.

Then I did some quick research over the Internet, curious to know the story of the saint, Lucia.

She was Italian, off course, but my eyes became stuck on the city where she came from: Siracusa.

As far as I know almost every city of Italy has it’s own saint and when it comes to that day normally it is a city wide holiday (no work since Italians are lazy).

Siracusa city

The mountain in the background is the volcano called “Etna”.

Siracusa is in Sicily… and in an ogonblick everything became clear in my mind: I knew why Santa Lucia’s day is more important in Sweden than in Italy.

The Normans, I wrote about them on and old article, brought back to Sweden the cult of the saint so important for the whole area where they sovreigned (Naples and below all the way to Sicily), after they settled down in the south of Italy!

Since 1970 in the City of Siracusa there takes place an event called “Lucia di Svezia e Settimana Svedese” “Lucie of Sweden and the Swedish Week”. At the end of the week, which is on the 20th of December, young Swedish girls “Lucia di Svezia” go to Italy to represent Lucia, as you can see in the video.

Since Swedish girls are VERY important to Italians they are heavily escorted by the carabinieri, our military police :-)

And, celebrating Santa Lucia in Sweden today, I feel little closer to Italy and to Sweden at the same time. :-)

Alessio

Images via Wikipedia.org.


3 Responses to The Italian Legacy of Sweden: Santa Lucia

  • Thomas says:

    Thank you, Alessio, that’s very interesting! I haven’t heard that before, but it’s important to notice that all traditions are very much alive, taking up varying influences during centuries. For instance, why is the tune of an old Napolitanian fishermen’s song associated with Lucia in Sweden? You provided a clue. Interesting also the celebrations in Siracuse, with attendance of Swedish girls. :-)

  • Youma says:

    Unrelated, have you seen this? A whole bunch of swedish freaks.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gE7S6MoyE-U

  • Alessio says:

    Another thing that a friend told me, is that the candles were originally ALL imported from Sicily since they were not produced in Scandinavia!

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