Ok tradition time again. But first, I am not speaking for the whole country here, as I in the end belongs to a minority. So some things are for the entire country, some for just my parts, and some things just differ from place to place.
pics have been removed....
This is celebrated on a Saturday before the first of Advent. There is usually a Little Xmas tree (now we just have a tiny plastic one), and it's the first time you feel Xmas is near.
When I was younger we made Little Xmas cards, and then we took those and went from neighbour to neighbour and opened the door and threw them in. Then you had to run as fast as you could so they would not catch you. It was so much fun, but that tradition seems to have died out with my generation ,now I sound really old! But we have not gotten one in the last 10 years, and the thing is, people lock their doors more often now too.) I also usually got a Little Xmas present, this year (haha I am still a kid) a chocolate calendar.
This is our Independence Day and it's a quiet celebration. We light candles, and the president holds this big ball, and people usually watch that on tv. There are also soldier parades, and we honour those that fell for our freedom. And they always show Unknown Solider on tv. In the end it's not a day you celebrate, it is more a day that is.
December 13th Lucia Day
How to explain this one then. It's a Saint's day and the only saint we celebrate in the end. One girl is elected Lucia, so she gets this white dress with a red ribbon and she wears a crown of candles. She has her maidens with her, they holds candles in their hands and they sing Lucia songs, and some Christmas songs too. It seems to be an saint we held on, because she brings light at the darkest time of the year, when the sun barely makes it up before setting again. And perhaps her origin is also from a Goddess of Light.
Today Lucia has more followers, a few little santas, and Staffan Stalledräng, now what the heck is he, a stableboy? Ok did some digging, he comes from when young people went around collection money and sang Staffan songs. Seems he comes from Saint Stefan, but since he has horses, perhaps some old God with horses too.
We also eat Lucia buns (not my fave). And a Lucia is elected in every school, city, for the whole of Finland. I never was Lucia, always only a maiden. They always pick the really pretty blonde girls,well or like to.
It's a pagan day mixed with Christian tradition, since you can never get the pagans truly out of us.
As for the real Lucia, she was a Christian martyr from Sicily. Her fiancé turned her in when she gave money to the poor. So she cut out her eyes and sent them to him.