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Marymount - International School Rome

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

S. Lucia brightens Rome's Christmas calendar.

The 2022 festive season in Italy sees a return of a popular Swedish tradition - the celebration of Santa Lucia - thanks to the embassy of Sweden in Rome.

For more than a decade, the Swedish embassy has brought its country's evocative celebration of S. Lucia, or St Lucy, to Italy every December.

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 Monday 12 December at 19.00.

The December darkness will be illuminated by the procession of S. Lucia, comprising a choir 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 (mulled wine) and pepparkakor (ginger bread biscuits).

For those who cannot make the celebration in Piazza di Pietra, there will be two more concerts in Rome: at IKEA Porta di Roma on Monday 12 December at 13.00 and on Tuesday 13 December at the Church of Santa Lucia (Via di Santa Lucia 5) in the Prati district at 17.00.

There will be other concerts around Italy too:

In Turin at Villa della Regina on 12 December at 18.00; at the Ospedale Infantile Regina Margherita on 13 December at 11.00 and later that day at the city's Mercato Centrale at 19.00.

In Bari on 14 December at IKEA at 17.00 and at the Cattedrale di S. Sabino at 20.00; and in Locorotondo on 15 December at the Chiesa Madre di Locorotondo at 20.00.

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.

Images courtesy Ambasciata di Svezia in Italia

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Address di Pietra, 00186 Roma RM, Italy

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Festival of Light: Sweden's Santa Lucia comes to Italy di Pietra, 00186 Roma RM, Italy

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