Thursday, December 3, 2009

Santa Lucia Day

Santa Lucia's Day in Scandinavia!
When the Nordic countries became Christian one of the traditions they embraced was Santa Lucia's Day. They took the tradition and made it uniquely their own.
Happy Santa Lucia Day!!!

Santa Lucia-A Scandinavian Christmas Traditions

One of the most popular Christmas traditions in Sweden is the celebration of Saint Lucia's Day, on December 13th. Although not a legal holiday, Saint Lucia's Day is a day of great celebrating and merriment. Here is San Diego, during the Christmas on the Prado, The Vasa Organization of San Diego put on a Santa Lucia procession down by the Museum of Man.

A Christian Maiden

The Story of Saint Lucia stretches back to the time of the Vikings and the Roman Empire. According to legend, Lucia was a brave young woman from the island of Sicily, in the Mediterranean. When Lucia heard about the persecution of Christians by the Emperor Diocletian, she gave one Christian family her entire dowry. This so angered her betrothed husband, that he told authorities that Lucia secretly practiced Christianity. Lucia, who died a martyrs death, was much admired for her courage, generosity and faith.

The Vikings

Viking sailors heard of the story of a young girl living in Italy, who had died for her Christian beliefs. The Vikings, who were also Christians, were so moved by Lucia’s story that they brought it home with them to Scandinavia. The Vikings imagined Lucia to be a shining figure, surrounded by light. This tale was favored by northern people, since the days were short during the winter, making daylight a precious commodity. It was also helpful that Saint Lucia’s day, December 13, marked the beginning of the Winter Solstice, in Swedish folklore. Also according to folklore, unmarried girls believed that Saint Lucia would tell them who their future husband would be, on her saint day.

Celebrating Saint Lucia Today

On the morning of December 13th (Saint Lucia’s Day) schools, businesses and homes choose a “Lucia.” The Lucia is dressed in white robes and red ribbons and wears a crown of candles on her head. Often times the eldest daughter plays Lucia, and greets her family with a breakfast of hot coffee and pastries, known as Lucia Buns. This ritual honors the legend of Saint Lucia bringing food during a famine. This more modern adaptation of Saint Lucia began in the 18th century and is similar to the German Christmas custom of Chistkindl.

Saint Lucia Day, also known as Saint Lucy’s Day, is celebrated in Denmark, Norway, Finland and Italy.