St.Lucy’s Day

Hey everyone! Winter break has officially started! This month is filled with numerous holidays that people around the world celebrate. Lot of us know Christmas is coming up, but did you know that December 13th was St. Lucy’s Day?

St.Lucy (Lucia in Latin) was a virgin martyr during the early years when Christianity was under persecution in the hands of the Roman empire. Lux means light in Latin. It was said that this name suited her perfectly because she was a radiant woman and a glowing devotee of Jesus Christ. People say that St.Lucy used to wear a wreath of candles around her head to illuminate the room as she helped the persecuted Christians hiding in the catacombs. How did she die? Well, it is a truly gruesome and grisly story. It was said that her mother did not know she had swore on being celibate. Therefore, her mother made her marry a Christian man. This man, when he found about her broken vow, turned her in. Her eyes were gouged out before she was killed in Sicily. Soon her fame spread across Europe. Another intriguing information about St.Lucy is that when she was being buried, it was found that her eyes were restored. She soon became the patron of the blind. She is often depicted holding a plate or cup of eyes.

There are many traditions people abide by on this day. In Sweden, the oldest daughter has to wake up before dawn, dressed in a white gown symbolizing purity, with a red sash representing martyrdom. She also has to wear a wreath with lit candles and some greenery. Her brothers are called “Star Boys” and have to dress in white (symbolic of purity), should wear a cone hat embellished with golden stars, and carry around star-shaped wands. I think the most fascinating part of these tradition would have to be when the daughter has to go around to wake her family members. Once waking them all up, the oldest daughter will then serve them traditional foods like baked sweets. Moreover, traditional foods include saffron buns (yeast buns) that are called Lussekatter. In Scandinavia, people celebrate the Winter Solstice near the time of St.Lucy’s feast day to commemorate the fact that she illuminated the lives of many around her.

There are also many ancient songs filled with symbolism for St.Lucy’s life and work. This one is an example:

The night treads heavily
around yards and dwellings
In places unreached by sun,
the shadows brood
Into our dark house she comes,
bearing lighted candles,
Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia.”

Well, I hope you learned something new! I certainly did. Happy Holidays everyone! Stay warm!


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