Santa Lucia

Friday, December 14, 2012
This year we attempted to celebrate the feast day of St. Lucy. I've been reading up on the traditions and stories surrounding this saint and they are pretty fascinating.

St. Lucy was a wealthy Christian woman living in pagan Rome. After her mother was cured of a lifelong ailment by praying at the tomb of St. Agatha, Lucy encouraged her mother to convert to Christianity. Together during the night they would travel through the city of Rome by candlelight giving food and money to the poor. 

However, Lucy had been promised in marriage to a Roman man who did not take kindly to her giving all her money away. So he turned her into the authorities. The persecution of Christians was at its height during this time and so Lucy was sentenced to death. It took several attempts, but eventually Lucy was martyred.

Several centuries later in Sweden, a small farming town was hit by a famine and many people were starving to death. One night a woman dressed in white with candles on her head arrived at the shores of the town, bringing food to the starving people. She then disappeared across the lake. The townspeople were convinced the mysterious woman was St. Lucy and have since celebrated the feast day of Santa Lucia by reenacting the event.

The eldest daughter in the family awakes before dawn and prepares breakfast for the entire family. She dresses in white to symbolize purity and wears a red sash to represent martyrdom. On her head she wears a wreath with burning candles. Do you remember the American Girl doll, Kirsten? In one of the books about her she celebrates this feast day. This is how Santa Lucia's costume should look.

I knew I wanted to try my hand at celebrating this lovely feast day, but didn't quite get my act together in time. So Hannah wore one of Daddy's white T-shirts and part of our Advent wreath on her head. She delivered some croissants to us in our bedroom. It wasn't quite as exciting as I expected, but Hannah loved it and now she knows who St. Lucy is, so, I guess we can declare it a success. We will definitely be continuing this tradition for years to come.

 St Lucy, pray for us!

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