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Bringing Light Into Darkness

St. Lucia’s Day is celebrated on Monday the 13th of December. With her crown of candles, the young woman saint brings light into the darkest season. This year Mirella Uddström, 23, played the part of Lucia in the annual candlelight procession from Helsinki Lutheran Cathedral to the Finlandia house.

Mirella Uddström on Lucia-neito Image: Valtteri Kantanen

Lucia was a young woman saint who suffered a martyr’s death in Sicily around 300 AD. St. Lucia’s Day celebrations originated in 18th century Sweden. The tradition spread to Åland and other Swedish speaking areas of Finland in the last century, and has only been widely celebrated among Finnish speakers for a few decades.

The performance of the song “Sankta Lucia” is an important part of the celebration. Despite its holy connotations, the song is originally about a harbour in Naples called Santa Lucia.

Finland’s Lucia is chosen by the Finnish Swedish health organization Folkhälsan, Finland’s leading Swedish newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet, YLE ‘s Swedish branch FST, and Radio Vega.

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