Matilda Jarl, 15, from the Jarfalla chamber choir near Stockholm played the role of Lucia last night as she led the procession during the Swedish Sankta Lucia Festival of Light service at York Minster.

The Sankta Lucia service is a traditional Swedish service merged from pagan and christian traditions and celebrates Saint Lucy who was a young Sicilian girl martyred for her Christian faith in the early 4th century and celebrates the bringer of light during the long darkness of winter.

This service incorporates a candlelit procession of choristers from the Jarfalla chamber choir and Starboys from the Vaxholm Boys Quintet near Stockholm led by a young girl, Lucia, wearing a crown of candles on her head and a red sash around her waist.

The crown of candles is thought to symbolise a halo and the red sash martyrdom. This is the fourth time the procession has been held at York Minster and is run in conjunction with the York Anglo-Scandinavian Society.

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