Saint Lucy’s Day is celebrated most commonly in Scandinavia, with their long dark winters, where it is a major feast day, and in Italy, with each emphasising a different aspect of the story. In Scandinavia, where Saint Lucy is called Santa Lucia in Norwegian and Sankta Lucia in Swedish, she is represented as a lady in a white dress and red sash with a crown or wreath of candles on her head. In Norway, Sweden and Swedish-speaking regions of Finland, girls dressed as Lucy carry rolls and cookies in procession as songs are sung.Boys participate in the procession as well, playing different roles associated with Christmas.
Now this long tradition is broken in the multicultural Swedish town of Södertälje.
Södertälje's ill and old, will for the first year not experience a Lucia procession light up their lives in hospitals, nursing homes and in the St. Ragnhilds church. After 50 years of the tradition, celebrated each December, the Lucia procession is cancelled in Södertälje, writes the newspaper LT. The reason is said to be poor interest.
READ: Sweden bans Christmas lights on state-owned poles
The newspaper does not mention that the demographics in the city are completely altered. Södertälje residents with Swedish traditions are likely already a minority in the multicultural city.
The lack of Lucia celebrations will surely be a disappointment to many elderly, who has seen the Lucia procession every year and remember when they were young. Mattias Holgersson has covered many processions as LT's photographer. He says that his strongest memories are of visits to various retirement homes and at Södertälje Hospital.
- There I think there are people who appreciate this traditional Lucia procession incredibly much, he says.
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