Festival of Light: Sweden's Santa Lucia comes to Italy

S. Lucia brightens up Rome's Christmas calendar.

After missing a year due to the covid pandemic, a festive event returns to Rome courtesy of a popular Swedish tradition.

Over the last decade, the Swedish embassy in Rome has brought Sweden's evocative celebration of S. Lucia, or St Lucy, to Italy.

It is, in fact, a homecoming for S. Lucia, an Italian Catholic martyr from Syracuse, who over the centuries has lent her name to an annual festival of light in Sweden.

Now one of the most important events on the Swedish calendar, the festival features young singers dressed in white robes and red sashes, carrying candles in procession as they sing traditional songs.

This year the main celebration takes place in Rome's central Piazza di Pietra on Sunday 12 December at 18.00.

The December darkness will be illuminated by the procession of S. Lucia, comprising a choir of 12 young people from Stockholm's Nordiska Musikgymnasiet high school who will sing traditional Christmas hymns.

The concert in front of the Temple of Hadrian will see guests provided with Swedish Christmas treats such as glögg (hot spiced wine), pepparkakor (ginger bread biscuits), and julmust (non-alcoholic soft drink).

For those who cannot make the celebration in Piazza di Pietra, the event can be followed live on Facebook.

The choir will also perform in the Church of S. Maria dell'Anima (Via di S. Maria dell'Anima 66) at 11.15 on Sunday morning, and then at IKEA Porta di Roma at 14.00.

On Monday 13 December the choir will perform in the Church of Santa Lucia (Via di Santa Lucia 5) at 19.30.

The S. Lucia events can be followed on social media under the hashtag #santaluciasvedese while for insights into Rome's Swedish community see Wanted in Rome feature article.

General Info

Address P.za di Pietra, 00186 Roma RM, Italy

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Festival of Light: Sweden's Santa Lucia comes to Italy

P.za di Pietra, 00186 Roma RM, Italy