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St Lucy’s Day

December 12, 2014

St Lucia

In Scandinavia we celebrate Saint Lucy’s Day in Advent time,  on the 13th of December. St. Lucy’s Day is celebrated mostly in Scandinavia, but also in Italy, Kanada and USA.

At least in Norway, Sweden and in Finland, on the St. Lucy’s Day, there is usually a young woman, who is dressed in a white dress and a red sash (as the symbol of martyrdom), and she wears a crown or wreath of candles on her head.

Lucia enters into the darkness, bringing light with her. She is followed by a procession who sings Advent songs and psalms.

***

My youngest daughter was chosen to be the Lucia of her school. They had a beautiful St. Lucy’s Day ceremony at the church close to us.

It was early in the morning, Before the sun had even risen. The morning was cold. It had been a frosty night. We waited outside our old church. It’s a small church, originally from early 1100’s. Whitewashed, with a shingle roof.

When we entered into the church, wax candles fluttered in the wind and it smelled lightly tar inside. It was quite dark.

Children arrived in procession and sang beautifully the song for St. Lucia. My daughter was pretty serious, she had a candle in her hand and a luminous crown on her head.

Children stood beside the altar. They sang several songs and hymns – so harmoniously and beautifully.

I thought about last Christmas. I was in totally different place – and it was not a good one.

Now I’m thankful to be here. To exist. To get to share this moment with my loved ones.

To sit on this old bench, to feel alive.

***

Cancer is a chock.

An awakening.

Some of us have more time to live after it,

some, unfortunately, less.

I’m just happy to be here.

With all my physical problems,

and every day issues,

just be here.

***

She sings:

Darkness shall soon pass away, from the deep lightless valleys. She comes with a lovely message from the rosy sky, Saint Lucy,

and a new day will rise again.

***

St. Lucy’s Day in Mora in Sweden:

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Heather Kopp

"Before death takes away what you are given, give away what there is to give." --Rumi

Steve McCurry's Blog

Steve's body of work spans conflicts, vanishing cultures, ancient traditions and contemporary culture alike - yet always retains the human element. www.stevemccurry.com

70 Degrees West

an environmental and humanitarian photo-documentary project from pole to pole along 70º west longitude

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