As I was the only daughter in our family, I was the one to wear the crown of candles (when we used live ones, we would place a wet rag on our head inside the crown- the crown being made of lingonberry bush or pine branches).
I had an electric candle crown and I remember the weight of it so well. I was always so excited to get up early and dress in a white gown, with a red ribbon round my waist. My mom would prepare me. I would then carry a tray with coffee and gingerbread cookies to my dad.
At school, one girl would be chosen as Queen Lucia and other girls and boys were her entourage. We would get saffron buns, rice pudding and lingon drink.
Here is a beautiful painting by Swedish artist, Carl Larsson, of his family celebrating Lucia day:
Being Swedish,Pippi Longstocking has been an icon to me all my life. Yes, there are troubling racist elements in the books and, my God, as a child I would lay awake at night worrying about Pippi living alone, but Pippi’s character is glorious and hopeful. She’s ahead of her time- a give-no-fucks attitude combined with curiosity and caring and independence. Her voracious need to learn and to interact. Her love of the moment.
Don’t you worry about me. I’ll always come out on top.
My heart still yells COMRADE! when Pippi needs her cave time to be home alone with her pets and think.