Project Description

Stockholm winter cartoon image

St. Lucia’s Day for the first time was one of the most mesmerizing experiences ever

By: Abdullah Ahmed


I arrived in Stockholm about seven months ago to start my student life in this beautiful city. As an international student, coming from outside of Europe, I was extremely nervous but excited at the same time. Who wouldn’t be? I was excited to experience a new culture. To meet new people and start a new life in this country.

Eyes on Christmas

But of course, being out of my comfort zone for the first time in my life, did not come that easy. One of the things I was looking forward to the most was…no, not my studies…but Christmas. I had never experienced an actual Christmas before, the celebrations, the lights, everything. I always wondered if it would be exactly like the movies? I would finally find out!

I was the first one at Kungsträdgården on the day the lights for Christmas were going to be turned on. From November onwards, all the streets fill up with Christmas lights and you can see the joy on everyone’s face…that is when they are not covering them with huge scarves because of the snow.

13th of December

Although Christmas time, snow and everything it brings with it was the thing I was most looking forward to, it was something else that blew my mind away. Lucia Day. This falls on the 13th of December every year. I signed up for it not even knowing what it was exactly as I wanted to experience as much diversity as possible. So, on the day of Lucia, I arrived at an old gothic building near the city centre. And I am glad I did! Because it was one of the most mesmerizing experiences ever. Since it was winter, the sun was not completely out yet. It was dark outside and there were no lights turned on inside the building either. All the light was coming from the candles the people singing were holding. It had a spiritual effect, something that is hypnotic but beautiful and transcendent at the same time. It made me realize that Stockholm offered many cultural experiences and you will always be left surprised in this city.

Girl dressed as Lucia with very bright candles

I later searched up more on Lucia to find out that what it is exactly. It dates back to the time when candles were needed to fight the darkness and cold that encapsulates the month of December. The girl in the middle is called Lucia, an ancient mythical figure. Now this is the part that is fascinating because I love old mythical stories. According to these stories, it was this night when spirits used to roam around and animals became possessed. And now it has translated into one of the most widely celebrated Swedish traditions in the entire country, envisioning to bring people into the spirts of Christmas. And it truly does its job!