York Minster helped break up the 'darkness of winter' with a candlelit Scandinavian ceremony.

The Sankta Lucia service saw a candlelit procession and carols in an event organised by York Minster and York Anglo-Scandinavian Society (YASS) on Monday (December 11).

Founded in 1960, YASS has a membership base of British natives and Scandinavians who live temporarily or permanently in York.

The society offers meetings and discussions in a bid to expand their members' knowledge on the life, culture, and geography of Scandinavian countries.

The Sankta Lucia tradition refers to St Lucy’s Day, which can be traced back to the 4th century. During the celebrations, “Lucia” is said to help people stay awake and ward off “dark spirits” on the Julian calendar’s shortest day, December 13.

York Press: Linnea Isén leading the processionLinnea Isén leading the procession (Image: Charlotte Graham)

In York, the Swedish celebration has been incorporated into the Minster’s advent celebrations for the last 10 years.

During the service, the London Nordic Choir formed the procession into the Nave whilst singing the traditional Lucia song. With the procession draped in white gowns and carrying candles, Lucia was the focal point with a crown of candles on her head, and red ribbon around her waist.

Pernilla Tweddle, chair of the Lucia Planning Committee at York Anglo Scandinavian Society, said: “The heart-warming tradition of Sankta Lucia brings a sense of continuity, joy and light to people across Scandinavia on December 13, historically considered the longest day of the year.

York Press: London Nordic choir performing at York MinsterLondon Nordic choir performing at York Minster (Image: Charlotte Graham)

“We are delighted to bring this atmospheric service to the magnificent York Minster for the tenth successive year.”

Performing in front of a full congregation, the service lasted about an hour. At the end, a collection was passed through the congregation with proceeds going to York Minster, YASS and the CoScan (Confederation of Scandinavian societies) Trust Fund.

The London Nordic Choir is an independent chamber choir, founded in 2016 by Carina Einarson. The conductor, composer and professional musician studied at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm before moving to London.

Leading the procession as Lucia was Linnea Isén, who is from Vrigstad in the county of Småland in Sweden. Linnea has lived in London since 2005 and works as an architect.