The other day I sneaked out of class one hour early and headed to celebrate a very Swedish Lucia.
As usual when there is something Swedish going on NCTU it was the Chalmers office that is holding the event. They usually manage to find traditional Swedish things somehow and everyone who wants can attend.
As soon as I entered the room I realized that they actually had Lussekatter – Real Swedish Lussekatter with lots of saffron. A Lussekatt is a big yellow colored bun in a special S shape, and decorated with raisins. This is one of the things I craved this December but thought I would have to do without. Together with ginger bread and hot glögg the taste almost brought out my tears.
Lucia a very typical Swedish tradition. Originally it has to do with an Italian saint, but after some hundred years and a lot of mixing with folklore and stories it is now something we regard as our own. The night between 12th and 13th December was believed to be a dark and dangerous night, and my Swedish ancestors were probably afraid. In early morning youngsters would dress up and walk from house to house and sing. It’s a celebration full of light and happiness, which is well needed in our dark north.
Today most Lucia arrangement’s take place in schools and workplaces. Youngsters dress up in long white dresses, the girls with green branches, red ribbons or glitter, and the guys with pointy white hats and stars. The main person is a girl wearing a crown of candles in her hair, and we call her Lucia. Nowadays you might as well find gingerbread men or Santa Claus in the parade. They will sing old-fashioned Swedish Christmas carols everyone love but few understand the lyrics of.
Of course the students from Chalmers University dressed up and sung some carols for us. The Taiwanese part of the audience looked happy but slightly confused.
Afterwards I found a cozy sofa in the back and took some time to talk with some friends. And then the best thing happened!
Apparently one of the Swedish students decided that some of the Taiwanese students should try to wear the outfits and sing a Chinese version of the Lucia song for us.
All Swedish were clapping and cheering. For a short moment they even lit up all the candles for a photo, before hastily blowing it out before any fire alarm would go of.
The official Taiwanese Lucia at National Chiao Tung University, 2014?
Now it’s only one more day and it will be Christmas for real. It is hard to get a feeling of it here. We have classes as usual, it’s no snow and little Christmas music.
We Swedes will get together and do the best we can to create some Christmas peace.