London is known for having an array of Christmas markets, but a unique Scandinavian Christmas festival is coming to town again this season, and its popularity is reaching new heights.
The Swedish festival of Saint Lucia, which is usually celebrated on December 13th includes a candlelit procession and songs led by a person dressed as the saint in a white gown and a crown of candles. It is meant to commemorate and honor Saint Lucia of Syracuse, the saint of light.
The London festival entitled “Lucia Nights” will encapsulate these traditions along with other events through a span of five days from the 10th-14th of December. The event is being organized by LondonSwedes, a Swedish community and events team.
Londoners have been taking an interest on how the Scandinavian nation celebrates this holiday for many years. This will be the third year the event is being held, but the events team predicts this year to be the most popular, as the festival is expected to have thousands in attendance.
Due to the expected popularity of the festival, LondonSwedes has set up seven events at the Asylum Chapel in Peckham. Swedish singer Miriam Bryant will play on the first day. The Swedish Church is also holding Saint Lucia events at Saint Paul’s and Southwark cathedrals.The festivities also usually involve Swedish mulled wine, glögg, and saffron buns known as lussekatter.
LondonSwedes founder Charlotte Ågren says almost half of those who attend their events are non-Swedes. She attributes the popularity of the Saint Lucia festival to the interest others have with the Scandinavian culture in regards to their sacred traditions, values and fashion.
For more information on the upcoming event, head over to Lucia Nights event page.
[Feature image: Wikimedia Commons]