This would be a good night to wreath yourself with candles and lights, as it is Saint Lucia’s Day.
Celebrated on 13th December in honour of a 3rd-century martyr who took food and aid to the persecuted as they hid in the catacombs, she wore a lighted headdress to leave her hands free to carry supplies.
This is a popular celebration in Sweden, Norway and Finland, where girls in candle-crowns carry gingerbread and saffron rolls in procession to the accompaniment of song.
The original, ancient intent of the celebration was to illustrate the eternal struggle between dark and light, at this time of the original Yule celebrations when the winter solstice was marked mid-December.
A time of feasting, gift-giving and lights, the contrast with the cold and fears of the forces of the dark is perfectly demonstrated with the white-clad maidens bearing torches through the night.
Be very careful when venturing abroad tonight especially, but any night between now and Yule.
Called Lussi Night in Scandinavia, the demonic witch Lussi and her entourage the Lussiferda will often be seen or heard in the sky, with trolls and gnomes making more free than usual for the entire season.
Farm and household animals gain the power of human speech on this night, so you may be able to enlist them to protect you.
Try asking your pets random questions occasionally throughout the evening, to see if you can catch them by surprise and startle them into answering you.
Sensible Swedes throw all-night parties or Lussevaka in order to keep everybody together and indoors on the 13th.
The traditional beverage for these parties is Glogge wine mulled and spiced, and this is to be highly recommended when drunk with a feast of many cheeses.
Or try this cocktail option using the days traditional gingerbread offering as a theme:
Lussi’s Ginger Dream
1 shot Canton Ginger liqueur
1/2 shot Volare vanilla liqueur
Dark chocolate bitters
Combine the liqueurs in a chilled shaker, and shake. Pour into a chilled glass and top up with ginger ale.
Agitate with a swizzle stick and dot with bitters. Serve garnished with star anise or a cinnamon stick, depending on taste.