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How to celebrate Saint Lucy's Day

Posted by on Nov. 30, 2012 at 7:29 AM
  • 13 Replies

How to Celebrate St. Lucy Day

Saint Lucy Day (also known as Sankta Lucia or Santa Lucia Day) is a Lutheran, Catholic and Orthodox Christian holy day that’s celebrated throughout the world on December 13, particularly in Sweden, Scandinavia and Italy.  St. Lucy Day celebrates, with Advent, the start of the Christmas season as well as the winter solstice (according to the Julian calendar).    

Who was St. Lucy?

St. Lucy was a 4th century girl in Syracuse, Italy who was martyred for her Christian faith by the Romans under Diocletian, possibly because she refused marriage to devote her life to God.  Not much else is known about her, but by the 6th century she was well-known throughout the Christian world, and many legends had taken root.  

The name Lucy means “light,” which comes from the root for lucid and understanding.  Thus, her holy day celebration was celebrated on the darkest day of the year.  One legend has it that Lucy’s eyes were put out because of the Romans or a spurned suitor, but then her sight was restored by God.  She’s often depicted holding a plate with her eyes on it, and is also a patron saint of the blind.    

How to Celebrate in the Style of Sweden and Scandinavia

In Scandinavia, St. Lucy Day celebrates the “Festival of Lights.” Scandinavia has some of the darkest winters in the world, so a celebration of light holds much meaning.  

The celebration begins on the morning of St. Lucy Day, when a girl child---the youngest or the oldest---portrays the Lucia Queen.  She wears a white dress with a red sash and a wreath with white candles on her head (for safety reasons, people now use battery operated-candles).  The Lucia Queen wakes the rest of her family with a tray of saffron buns (called Lussekatter) and coffee.  The other girl children also dress in white and carry single candles while singing songs. Though the role was traditionally female, boys also now have a part in the celebration as Star Boys.  They wear white pajamas and a conical hat with stars on it, and join the song and merriment.  

In Denmark, St. Lucy Day took on a more political role during World War II.  Called Luciadag, the celebration was a passive protest against the German occupation.  It was meant to bring light in a time of darkness, and is still celebrated today. 

How to Celebrate in the Style of Italy

Italy celebrates St. Lucy Day in a few different ways.  In the north eastern areas of Italy, St. Lucy brings gifts to good children and coal to the bad ones on December 13.  The children in turn must leave her a snack, and promise to not see St. Lucy (aided by her donkey) make her deliveries.  Should a child see St. Lucy delivering the gifts, legend has it that Lucy throws ashes into the child’s eyes, blinding them.  

In Sicily, St. Lucy’s home region, St. Lucy’s Day is celebrated with food---most notably, cuccia, a dish made of wheat berries, chocolate, sugar and milk.  They also make Santa Lucia cookies, which are in the shape of eyes.  

Holiday Party Checklist

If you’re planning on hosting St. Lucy Day festivities, you’ll need these items, depending on the country of choice.

Sweden and Scandinavia

  • Lussekatter (saffron buns)
  • Coffee
  • Wreath (for the table or a child’s head)
  • White Candles (battery-operated for the child’s head; tapers for the table)
  • White dress or pants for boys and girls. 
  • Star hat
  • The song “Sankta Lucia.”  Look for Holger Lissners version. 

Italy

  • Cuccia
  • Santa Lucia cookies
  • Traditional Neapolitan song “Santa Lucia.”  Look for the Enrico Caruso version.


Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/stry/saint-lucy-day#b#ixzz2Dhz4FDFd
by on Nov. 30, 2012 at 7:29 AM
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Replies (1-10):
MamaJane
by Jane:) on Nov. 30, 2012 at 7:32 AM
Interesting. I'm Lutheran and I've never heard of Lucy. The eyes on the plate is pretty gross :p
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ashleymosq
by Ruby Member on Nov. 30, 2012 at 7:45 AM

Lol. I have never heard of Saint Lucy either. I have actually learned quite a bit from these posts that I have been making. I did not realize how many different things were celebrated in December.

Quoting MamaJane:

Interesting. I'm Lutheran and I've never heard of Lucy. The eyes on the plate is pretty gross :p


SarahSuzyQ
by Sarah on Nov. 30, 2012 at 7:46 AM
I think I read about this in an American Girl book once...
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MamaJane
by Jane:) on Nov. 30, 2012 at 7:47 AM
Me either!

Quoting ashleymosq:

Lol. I have never heard of Saint Lucy either. I have actually learned quite a bit from these posts that I have been making. I did not realize how many different things were celebrated in December.

Quoting MamaJane:

Interesting. I'm Lutheran and I've never heard of Lucy. The eyes on the plate is pretty gross :p


Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
ashleymosq
by Ruby Member on Nov. 30, 2012 at 7:49 AM

Really? I want to get one of those dolls for each of my girls.

Quoting SarahSuzyQ:

I think I read about this in an American Girl book once...


Flaca43
by Ruby Member on Nov. 30, 2012 at 7:51 AM

 How come I've never heard of this?!! I grew up going to Episcopal(related to Catholic) and Lutheran Churches. This is interesting though..I will tell DF the story. Thank you for sharing.

SarahSuzyQ
by Sarah on Nov. 30, 2012 at 7:57 AM
There is a Swedish immigrant doll, or there used to be. I think it's Kirsten?


Quoting ashleymosq:

Really? I want to get one of those dolls for each of my girls.

Quoting SarahSuzyQ:

I think I read about this in an American Girl book once...



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momofsixangels
by Colleen on Nov. 30, 2012 at 8:12 AM

Thanks for the info.I hadnt heard of this before

sweetpea1269
by on Nov. 30, 2012 at 8:18 AM
There are so many little known saints. I named my daughter after my mom, found out that it was her mother's name when she was a nun. (She left the nunnery, hence the lineage) Anyyyyway, Lelia is their name.
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ashleymosq
by Ruby Member on Nov. 30, 2012 at 8:32 AM

Oh cool. I haven't actually been on the site in a few years. I wanted to get my oldest DD a doll when she was about 3, but figured it would be best to wait until she was older and would actually appreciate the doll and the story behind her.

Quoting SarahSuzyQ:

There is a Swedish immigrant doll, or there used to be. I think it's Kirsten?


Quoting ashleymosq:

Really? I want to get one of those dolls for each of my girls.

Quoting SarahSuzyQ:

I think I read about this in an American Girl book once...




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