The martyred saint’s devotion to Jesus shines as a bright witness
Under the Julian calendar, December 13 was the shortest day of the year. The change to the Gregorian calendar altered the date of the winter solstice to December 21, but Lucy’s feast day celebration remains on December 13 — so Saint Lucy is forever associated with lengthening days and more sunlight. Appropriately, Saint Lucy is the patron saint of those who are blind.
“Lucy is a special saint for anyone who longs for Christ’s light to fill their hearts. She leads us through the darkness of Advent to the brightness of Christmas. And she surely can help us through all the bleak days of winter. St. Lucy, pray for us!”
Saint Lucy’s Day is celebrated in unique ways across the world.
In Sweden, the oldest daughter in each household carries a tray of coffee and pastries called lussekatter to her parents early in the morning (our humble attempt shown here). She wears a white gown and red sash to symbolize her martyrdom with a crown of greens and lighted candles upon her head. The crown and candles is in memory of what lit the way for Saint Lucy to travel through darkened woods to bring bread and other food to the poor.
In Switzerland, Saint Lucy strolls around the village with Father Christmas, giving gifts to the girls while Father Christmas gives gifts to the boys.
In Italy/Sicily, the virgin martyr journeys about Sicily clothed in a blue star-spangled mantle and accompanied by a gift-laden donkey as she fills childrens’ shoes with surprises during the night. Italians also pay tribute to a miracle performed by Saint Lucy during a famine in 1582. At that time, it is said that the people of Syracuse invoked the intercession of the saint and she sent a ship laden with grain to them. Thus, on Saint Lucy’s Day, many in Italy eat bowls of a cooked wheat porridge known as cuccia.
Or just keep it simple — many people across the world keep a candle lit all day as a tribute to the saint who kept Christ’s love aglow despite her unimaginable suffering and martyrdom.
Whatever your local celebration may be, Saint Lucy’s acts of charity and devotion to Jesus can shine forth as a guiding light and witness for all as we continue to walk through the darkness preparing for the brightness of Christmas.
Santa Lucia, ora pro nobis!
Previous posts about Saint Lucy: Saint Gerard Meets Saint Lucy