St. Lucia Day is a celebration of the light in the darkness. It is one of Sweden’s most cherished days, with every small child holding a candle at their preschool singing for their parents, dressed either as St. Lucia in white with candles around her head, a “star boy,” a “tärna” with glitter in their hair, a gingerbread man or an elf.
It’s really beautiful, and NK chose the elf costume this year, probably the only year, after she checked out the ring of electric candles the Lucias got to wear. Every child gets to be a Lucia at this age. That ends later, as the happy inclusiveness gives way to class or community votes on one single Lucia who gets to be the star.
But the real Swedish part of NK’s ceremony were not the traditional songs. Or the glögg with raisins and nuts.
It was that the whole thing was outside. In a steady drizzle. In the dark.
Apparently, the former drug rehab center turned daycare does not have space for all the kids. So I stood in the sandbox without an umbrella and squinted through the darkness trying to find the red shape that is NK. Then I climbed on a play house, since Swedes are tall but do not realize it.
Luckily, NK sat in front, next to a teacher, sort of under a light. So we got some blurry pics. Other parents never even saw their children.
And no one complained.