Sweden’s most popular party goes gender neutral


(CNN) — Saint Lucia’s Day, a winter holiday traditionally celebrated on December 13 in Scandinavian countries, is getting modernized.

The city of Malmo, Sweden has announced that for the first time ever, they will not consider gender when casting their ‘Lucia’.

The holiday, which often coincides with the winter solstice, depicts Saint Lucia – Lucy in English – as a young girl in a white dress and red sash, with a wreath of candles on her head.

Often, Lucia’s selection has been compared to a beauty contest, and some have criticized officials for preferring pale, blonde Lucias. This year, Malmo is completely rethinking the idea of ​​Lucia.

“Before, we always asked for a female, but we decided not to do that this year. It’s because we realize now that people don’t always identify with a gender,” said Viveca Byhr Lindén, which organizes the Saint Lucia festivities in Malmö. The local about the casting change.

Now Lindén and his team in Sweden’s third-largest city will choose a Lucia based on good deeds and civic engagement rather than photos. Maybe it’s appropriate, because Lucia is the patroness of the blind.

The official announcement of the nomination of Lucia 2018 from Malmo will be made on November 30.

The move to eliminate gender as part of choosing a Saint Lucia is just the latest step in Sweden’s national efforts to achieve gender equality.

The Swedish National Agency for Gender Equality was established in Gothenburg on January 1, 2018. Its stated goal is “that women and men have equal power to shape society and their own lives”.

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