In Sweden, Finland, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, and Norway, “Santa Lucia” has been given various lyrics to accommodate it to the winter-light Feast of Saint Lucy, at the darkest time of the year. The three most famous lyrics versions in Swedish are Luciasången, also known by its incipit, Sankta Lucia, ljusklara hägring (“Saint Lucy, bright illusion”); Natten går tunga fjät (“The night walks with heavy steps”); and the 1970s “kindergarten” version, Ute är mörkt och kallt (“Outside it’s dark and cold”). The more common Norwegian version is Svart senker natten seg (“Black the night descends”).LUCIA
December 13th is the feast of Saint Lucy (283-304), a noblewoman who was born in Syracuse, Italy, during the Diocletian persecution. As the name, Lucy, derives from ‘lux’ or ‘light’, she has become associated with festivals of light and with invocations against afflictions of the sight.
In the old Julian calendar, Lucy’s feast fell on the shortest day of the year. She continues to be associated with the coming of longer days and sunlight. Her feast day marks the beginning of Christmas celebrations in Sweden, and some parts of Finland, and Norway. She is the patron of electricians, opthamologists, writers, and sales people. She is also the protector of those with diseases of the eye.
In Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland, Saint Lucy is venerated on her feast day, December 13, in a ceremony where a young girl is chosen to portray the noble virgin and martyr. Wearing a white gown with a red sash and a crown of candles on her head, she walks at the head of a procession of other girls, each holding a candle, and singing a song in honor of Saint Lucy.
In the video,the Carolinae Ladies Choir in Lund, Sweden, give a preview of a candlelit Lucia procession.
“Santa Lucia” is a traditional Neapolitan song. The original lyrics of “Santa Lucia” celebrate the picturesque waterfront district, Borgo Santa Lucia, in the Bay of Naples, in the invitation of a boatman to take a turn in his boat, to better enjoy the cool of the evening. In Sweden, Finland, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, and Norway, “Santa Lucia” has been given various lyrics to accommodate it to the winter-light Feast of Saint Lucy, at the darkest time of the year.