December 13: Saint Lucia Day

Lucia_procession in Sweden 2007 [image credit Fredrik Magnusson at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lucia_procession.jpg]Saint Lucia Day, sometimes called Saint Lucy Day, is celebrated every December 13. The day is primarily celebrated in Scandinavian countries and by those of Scandinavian descent wherever they are (although they’re certainly not the only ones to celebrate!).

Saint Lucia was a Christian martyr around 300 a.d. Not much is known for certain of her life, but it seems that Lucy refused to be married and gave her dowry away to the poor. After refusing to deny Christ, she was martyred (although apparently, it took several tries).

St Lucia parade in Denmark 2001On Saint Lucia Day, girls dress all in white, sometimes with a red sash. All of them carry a candle, but one girl out of the group has a wreath of candles on her head (since legend states Lucia sometimes wore a wreath of candles so that she could use both hands to carry supplies to Christians hidden in the catacombs).Those of us who grew up salivating over the American Girl dolls may already be somewhat familiar with Saint Lucia traditions, due to Kirsten‘s Christmas story. (Apparently, they’ve archived Kirsten! You can’t get her now! 😦 Anyway. Moving on… )

Some traditions say they also gouged out her eyes.

If you’re interested, check out this recipe for traditional Swedish Lucia buns or Lussekatt. I’ve never tried them, but it sure looks fun.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”

Matthew 5:14-15

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