One of Andersonville’s many traditional Swedish events, St. Lucia, begins each year on St. Lucia’s Day, 13th December, with a torch-lit procession highlighting the appearance of the specially chosen “Lucia Girls,” who will lead the crowd, wearing long white robes and beautiful crowns of candles and singing “The Lucia Song.”
Lucia was an Italian saint, born in about 284 A.D. in Sicily. Known for her generosity in feeding the poor and homeless, St. Lucia was executed at the age of 20 during the Romans’ persecution of Christians.
The first public Lucia celebration was held in Stockholm in 1927. The Swedes’ affection for the Lucia festival is due partially to the timing; Lucia festivals provide a ray of light during the winter solstice, the darkest time of the year in Sweden.