Santa Lucia lights up winter gloom

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Children lit up the dark December morning with a Lucia parade at an Oslo hospital. PHOTO: Sven Goll

December 13 is known as “Luciadagen” (Santa Lucia Day) in the Nordic countries, and Norwegian children have embraced the tradition of donning white robes, singing and parading with candles and, best of all, baskets of sweet pastry known as lussekatter.

It's nice to have a hand to hold, when visiting strange places like a hospital on a cold and dark winter morning. PHOTO: Sven Goll

It’s all part of a legend about the martyr St Lucia, who was executed in 304AD while she held a burning lamp.

Sweden started celebrating Luciadagen in 1927, and Finland also has a long tradition of honoring Santa Lucia with parades at schools, hospitals and charitable institutions.

The day’s roots aren’t so deep in Norway, but local day care centers (barnehager) have taken up the event in recent years, seen by many as an extra source of light and music on an otherwise dark December morning.

On Monday, this group of children from the Steinerud kindergarten in Oslo paid a visit to the hospital known as Diakonhjemmet.

Other children even paid a call on the office of  Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who knelt down to their level for chat, and got plenty of hugs in return.

Views and News staff