Día de Santa Lucia is St Lucia Day and is held on December 13th every year. It is a Swedish festival which is a mixture of Scandinavian and Canarian traditions. Santa Lucia was a martyr who died on December 13th because she helped the first Christian settlers. The churches are illuminated (very festive!) and there are street parties with food and drink, music and dancing. There is an animal show too.
The fiesta has been held since 1967 in Santa Lucia de Tirajana in the north of the island, which is very green (well, for Gran Canaria anyway, where it is mostly rocky and desert-like!)
The girls dress in white for the festival, carrying candles in a procession and singing traditional songs. One Swedish girl and one Canarian girl are chosen to head the procession and represent Saint Lucia.
First of all, the Swedish girl greets the Canarian girl and there is a ceremonial mass in Santa Lucia church. After that, the procession begins. The girls visit the Village Livestock Trade Fair on the way. When they get back to the church, a fertility rite is performed and sweets, grains and fruit are offered to the Santa Lucia statue. They mix water and milk and offer that too. Inside there are hymns sung (in Spanish not Swedish) but the Swedish girl can’t take part in the mass itself because she isn’t Catholic.
The Catholics believe Santa Lucia is the protector of eyesight and Canarians congregate at the fiesta to pray for eye healing.
If you want to go to this festival, you need to get the number 1 bus from the South to Doctoral then the number 34 to Santa Lucia. Both buses are fairly frequent throughout the day. Día de Santa Lucia is a great experience and Santa Lucia de Tirajana is a really pretty place to visit.