Sankta Lucia: A Scandinavian Candle Ceremony at York Minster
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Sankta Lucia: A Scandinavian Candle Ceremony at York Minster

Sankta Lucia service, a tradition on St Lucy’s Day, was celebrated through a candlelit procession and carols at York Minster. The York Anglo-Scandinavian Society (YASS) and York Minster organized the event on December 11. YASS, founded in 1960, aims to expand its members’ knowledge of Scandinavian culture, life, and geography.

The Sankta Lucia tradition dates back to the 4th century. During the celebration, “Lucia” is believed to help people stay awake and protect them from “dark spirits” on the shortest day of the Julian calendar, December 13. This Swedish celebration has been part of York Minster’s advent celebrations for the past 10 years.

The London Nordic Choir led the procession into the Nave while singing the traditional Lucia song. The procession, dressed in white gowns and carrying candles, featured Lucia as the focal point, with a crown of candles on her head and a red ribbon around her waist. The service lasted about an hour and ended with a collection for York Minster, YASS, and the CoScan (Confederation of Scandinavian Societies) Trust Fund.

The London Nordic Choir, an independent chamber choir founded in 2016, performed at the event. Its conductor, composer, and professional musician Carina Einarson studied at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm before moving to London. Leading the procession as Lucia was Linnea Isén, an architect from Vrigstad, Sweden, who has been living in London since 2005.