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Here are a couple of interesting links where you can learn more about this festive tradition that dates back as far as 304 c.e.
The Lucia tradition can be traced back both to St Lucia of Syracuse, a martyr who died in 304, and to the Swedish legend of Lucia as Adam’s first wife. It is said that she consorted with the Devil and that her children were invisible infernals. Thus the name may be associated with both lux (light) and Lucifer (Satan), and its origins are difficult to determine. The present custom appears to be a blend of traditions.
To read more please visit: http://www.sweden.se/eng/home/lifestyle/traditions/celebrating-the-swedish-way/lucia/
The Festival of Santa Lucia
The festival of Santa Lucia begins before dawn, on the thirteenth of December, which under the old Julian calendar (used in Sweden before 1753) was Christmas Day and the longest night of the year. Throughout Sweden, the eldest daughter in each household comes to her sleeping parents, dressed in a long white gown tied with a red sash, and wearing a crown of lingonberry leaves in which are set seven lighted candies.
In her hands she carries a tray of steaming hot coffee and “Lussekattor” (Lucia Buns). The procession includes her sisters and brothers also dressed in white, holding lighted candles, and singing of the light and joy of Christmas.
Read more here: http://www.newsweden.org/luciahistory.htm