St. Lucia Day
The celebration of St. Lucia Day on December 13 has come specifically from the Swedish-speaking culture. Lucia, dressed in a white dress, a red belt, and a crown of candles, walks around with her companions in a procession of candles bringing light into the darkness of winter.
In Turku the Lucia maiden is selected by a public vote organized by Folkhälsan and Åbo Underrättelser, two Swedish-speaking organizations in Finland. The voting of Lucia also involves a fund-raising for charity.
The Lucia of Turku is revealed on the morning of St. Lucia Day on December 13, and she will be crowned in the Turku Cathedral. After the crowning the Lucia procession moves on to the Christmas Street, where there is something to see for the whole family. The Lucia visits and performs in many destinations in Turku during December.
The first known instance of celebrating St. Lucia Day in the Nordic Countries is from Sweden, West Gothland, from 1746. In the Turku region the tradition started in Parainen in the beginning of 1950s. Officially the Lucia of Turku has been selected by Folkhälsan since 1996, but before that the Lucia of Katedralskolan, a Swedish-speaking school in Turku, acted as the unofficial “City Lucia” in various events.
Nowadays the celebration of St. Lucia Day has spread form the Christmas tradition of the Swedish-speaking community to the Finnish-speaking one as well. St. Lucia Day is celebrated especially in schools and day care centres.