Wednesday, December 14, 2005

St. Lucia's day

Yesterday was St. Lucia's Day . I went to the celebration at church (which has been featured earlier in this blog), and found that this is a very popular day. Sure, I know the church is usually packed when there's free entertainment to be had, but I've never seen a queue this long in front of a church.

Unfortunately the photo came out very blurry since it's always so darn dark here in Sweden, but you get the idea. I used our real digital camera, not my phone this time.

Getting a seat was actually quite easy, despite the amount of people. I reserved one for my mom in the second row while she parked the car (getting a parking spot was crazy hard), and then went to the back of the church to get some shots of the Lucia procession when she had taken her seat. The ones I tried to take from the side was even blurrier than the photo above, so you'll have to make do with one from behind.

At this point, I had had time to mount the camera on a tripod, to get some long exposure shots with no flash. Using a flash to light up a Lucia procession really defeats the purpose. I wanted to convey the light versus darkness feeling that is the whole point of the scandinavian Lucia celebration. Yes, I felt a bit like a dork for using a tripod, but I'd have felt even more like a dork if I'd lit up the whole church with my flash. Which incidentally is what someone in the front row is apparently doing in this photo, making it look rather surreal.

The white-clad boys and maidens sang the classical St. Lucia song as they slowly filed into the church. There were also some maidens already assembled at the front of the church with unlit candles, which the new arrivals lit with their own, spreading warm candle light in the dark winter evening.

Finally, with everyone there, the songs started in earnest. The choir was a mix of schooled singers from music classes, small kids and regular students. It sounded great, as it usually does.

In this photo you can see that the pews are stacked with people, and that the church is a place where you should keep your mouth shut, paraphrasing the sign. Another thing I discovered is that the back of the church is apparently a place for photographers and parents cradling restless children.

The Lucia stands in the front with a crown of candles. She never sings, she just stands there, looking pretty. Note the warm glowing warming glow.

The church sure looks nice in this light, and the acoustics really lend themselves to choir song. It's hard not to get at least a tiny glimmer of a tear in your eye at some point or another.


mayuosan said...

Vad vacket kyrkan är!
Jag saknar juldagar i Sverige..
Jag ska gå till Onsen med flera kompisar.
Julen är inte för familj i Japan, men för par^^;

akline said...

My name is Amy Kline. I am about to start a reseach project on St. Lucia's Day. Any iformation you could send me would be helpful. Thanks Amy

Tiffany said...


My name is Tiffany Li. I have completed a book related to Sweden culture and travel. I have found your Lucia Day photos via internet.

May I ask you a favor? May I put your photo on my book? Of course I would indicate your name as a resource.

Thank you!

Best regards,

jg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.