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  • Saint Lucys day. I think only scandinavians celebrate that, so I’d better tell you what it is.

    December in Sweden is cold and dark. The sun is only up for a few ours, and we live our lives in a kind of eternal night, this time of year. One can easily see the need for some kind of ceremony to overcome the darkness.

    Every December 13, schools, pre schools, communities and churches gather early in the morning, to watch a procession led by a girl in a white gown, wearing a crown of lit candles. She’s Lucia.

    The others in the procession are girls in similar white gowns, holding a single candle in their hands. And boys, also in white gowns, with white, star-decorated cones on their heads, holding a single star in their hand. In pre- and elementary school, some kids are dressed as Santa Claus or gingerbread men. All of this while singing traditional songs.

    The most beautiful girls compete to be the Lucia of their school, or their community. Who will get to wear the crown is decided by public vote. In pre-school though, every kid gets to wear pretty much whatever they want to.

    I had already taken my 3-year old son shopping for the event. He wanted to be a gingerbread Lucia. So we bought a gingerbread costume, and a crown with lights.

    As the big morning came, he was suddenly reluctant to wear the crown. At the very last moment, before he went to line up with the others, he told me he didn’t want to wear it.

    I put the crown in my backpack, and went to stand in the yard in the cold and dark with all the other parents. After a long time, the children came out, in a disorder of course, to sing their songs.

    My son, Folke, was a wonderful gingerbread man. But I was a bit sad to know that he too soon had discovered the boundaries of his gender, and that he had let that keep him from being who he wanted to be.

    At home, in the evening, we talked about what happened. He wanted to put the crown back on. He shook his head violently, so the crown fell of. “No” he stated. “It doesn’t stay on”.

    I went to get some rubber band and tied the crown to his head. He went to get his sword. Then he performed a never before seen choreography. His own interpretation of Saint Lucy. Then he wanted to do the procession at his pre-school over again.

    He will have to wait a whole year.

    It wasn’t his gender. It was just that the crown didn't fit.
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