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St Lucia Day - Light amidst the winter gloom

Each December 13, residents of Europe’s north crown a modern-day light-bringer on St. Lucia’s Day, one of the few saint’s days observed in the Nordics.

The coronation of this year's Lucia will be streamed on Yle Areena beginning at 5PM local time. Image: Seppo Sarkkinen / Yle

Finland's Lucia this year is Tilde Polviander from the capital of the Åland Islands, Mariehamn. She will be officially crowned in Helsinki's Lutheran Cathedral on Monday evening.

The church is open to the public, but space is limited. Participants will be required to present a Covid pass at the door.

The traditional Lucia procession through the centre of Helsinki, a spectacle which regularly attracts tens of thousands of people, has been cancelled however, for the second year in a row, due to the coronavirus situation.

Saint Lucia Day has Catholic and Orthodox roots and is celebrated across Finland, especially in Swedish-speaking communities.

Each year, a young woman is chosen by public vote to don a wreath carrying live candles in a ceremony at Helsinki's Lutheran Cathedral.

Many towns and cities choose their own local Lucia, and the day is celebrated in many child daycare centres and schools, especially in those where Swedish is the main language of instruction.

The coronation of this year's Lucia at Helsinki's Lutheran Cathedral will be streamed live on Yle Areena, beginning at 5pm local time.