We have to write parodies of traditional Swedish Christmas carols, dress up, promenade into the lunchroom, and sing. I have been coerced into singing a solo. Thank god I don't have to be Lucia, at least. I'm dressing as a gingerbread man. Our wonderful receptionist has saved our asses, all 20 of them, by writing a veritable boatload of songs, all of which parody something about the company, and all of which are hilarious. Our Lucia is not yet chosen, but rumor has it she will be played by a he.
Lucia is a cherished Swedish Christmas tradition, even though she's neither Swedish nor all that traditional, having only been around for about 75 years in Sweden. When you tell that to a Swede, they react with disbelief and amazement. Lucia was a Sicilian saint who died a martyr's death on December 13th approximately 2000 years ago. She was engaged to marry a young man who was not a Christian, and after an argument about money (Lucia gave money to the poor), her betrothed betrayed her to the Roman authorities, disclosing her Christian beliefs. She was sentenced to die by burning at the stake, but when the fire didn't harm her, she was killed with a sword.
Nowadays, little girls dress as Lucia with a crown of candles (o! the irony!) on their heads, wearing white with a red ribbon around their waists. Because Sweden is an equal-opportunity country, and perhaps because Sweden already has ONE dress-up tradition for children that excludes boys,** star boys were added to the mix a little later. Even more recently, and perhaps because of the goofiness of the star boy outfit, most little boys (and both my children) dress up as Santas or gingerbread men. Other little girls in the procession get to hold candles in their hands but otherwise they are dressed similarly to Lucia, and they are called Lucia maids or Lucia attendants.
The Lucia procession comes in singing traditional Lucia songs, and in some households, sadly not mine, serves a breakfast in bed of saffron buns and gingerbread to the parents. We new employees, however, will be (hopefully) cracking up our co-workers enough with our performance that they won't care how bad it is. :P
Martin: It's Angie's birthday today.
Me: No, her birthday is tomorrow. But guess whose birthday it is today?
Me: tallefjant's, Lambi's daddy!
Martin: ooh. *pause* He's Lambi's DADDY?
Me: Well,...Lambi's adopted. *smiles*
Karin (who has been only half listening) *wide-eyed* Lambi's a DOCTOR?
Happy Warm and Toasty Birthday Wishes to tallefjant!
*Se någon kommer där, jag vet nog vem det är (from the children's song text of Sankta Lucia)
**påskkärringar, or Easter witches