Swedish Candelabras / Candlesticks Customer Reviews

What Holidays are Swedish Candelabras Used to Celebrate?

The traditional use for Swedish candelabras is to mark Advent, which begins four Sundays before Christmas. Another name for these candelabras is Adventljusstake, meaning Advent candlestick.

Many people use these candelabras for Christmas, or even as a nice decorative touch throughout the dark winter days.

Another part of the Swedish candelabra tradition is Saint Lucia Day on December 13, the longest night of the year on the Swede’s Old Style calendar. Lucia means light in Latin, and depictions of Saint Lucia show her carrying a torch and a bright light shining behind her head.

Legend has it a young woman named Lucia took her charity work too far for her fiancé’s preferences – she gave away their wedding gifts. To punish his bride to be, Lucia’s fiancé had her thrown in jail where she was sentenced to death. Lucia was able to escape, and when she died years later, she was declared a saint.

To celebrate Saint Lucia Day, either a ljuskrona (a candle holder wrapped with cut paper) or a Swedish candelabra is placed in the center of the table. Many young girls will wear a long white dress and the star crown often pictured on Lucia's head. Older Saint Lucia celebrations did use flaming candles for their crowns, but today most people opt for the safety of battery operated candles.

What is the History/Lore of Swedish Candelabras?

Part of the use of Swedish candelabras came from practicality, while other reasons were more superstitious. Dusk comes as early as 2 pm in Sweden during December, so the more sources of light in use the better. Some also believed candles in the window protected their household against evil forces.

The Swedish candelabras of today’s fashion come from different traditions going back to the 1800s. In its early beginnings, families would place one candle in the window on Christmas Eve and keep it burning to Christmas Day.

The tradition of one candle in the window evolved into an inverted V-shape candelabra. This change is mostly owed to the fact that Advent candles are traditionally lit in a series: on the first Sunday of Advent one candle is lit, the second Sunday of Advent two candles are lit, and so on. Swedes wanted this staggered lighting to be mirrored in the candelabra’s design.

Due to fire hazards and improved technology, in 1937 the candelabra design shifted to become 7 lights using the electric candle-shaped Christmas tree lights. This is the popular look we recognize today.