The above image is ICA's direct mail advertising their Lucia costumes for Lucia Day.
I need to explain what Lucia Day is to us people in Sweden. It's our favorite prank to play on unsuspecting Nobel Prize winners, when we invade their hotel room as a procession of singing star boys, girls and gingerbread men, led by a girl who is Lucia. We do this before the crack of dawn, with candles in our hair and dressed in white nightgowns. Singing. Did I mention the singing? Hungover prize recipients truly love this wakeup call, and often respond with their cultural way of showing appreciation which is to throw pillows at the Lucia and yell "get out of my room!"
In the ICA ad we see a stjärngosse (a star boy) who is casted as a girl. There are a few baby ginger breads, and a santa helper.. and then there's the Lucia with
her his traditional crown of candles and red belt. Lucia is a boy. Wtf?
Seriously. Saint Lucia's Day is celebrated all over the country, and in every school, kindergarden and even offices. December 13 all kids dress up either as Lucia herself, a "tärna" (star girl), a little gingerbread person, or a "star boy". Traditionally there used to be only one Lucia per procession, but somewhere in the 70s teachers decided that voting for a Lucia was a cruel popularity contest and every girl could wear the light-crown if they wanted to. Ever since then there's been debates every year about the "right" color of Lucia's hair, and if it's worn long or short.
This year there's been no such debate. ICA seems to have overloaded all the Lucia traditionalist senses with this photo. They might still be in shock.
For people in the States: This is the equivalent to a boy homecoming queen. Not a transgender homecoming queen. Just a boy homecoming queen.
The real Lucia of Syracuse (283–304), also known as Saint Lucy, or Saint Lucia wasn't a boy though. She was a young Christian martyr who died during the Diocletian persecution. She's venerated as a saint by the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Orthodox Churches.