Story of Santa Lucia
(There are several
versions of the story of Lucia but this is a nice one!)
Lucia was an Italian girl, born in Sicily in the 3rd
A.D. It was a time when the Romans were persecuting Christians, and
family was Christian. When her father died, Lucia vowed to remain
and to serve God, but since she didn't tell anyone about this vow, her
mother went ahead and promised her in marriage to a suitor who was not
Christian. Lucia said no thanks, I'd rather be an old maid, and she
to give her dowry away to the poor. The young man's pride was severely
so he reported Lucia to the Roman authorities and she was tried and
of being a Christian. The judge decided that a suitable punishment for
woman who wanted to remain chaste was to be sold into slavery - to a
But when the soldiers came to take her away, they were unable to move
Rather than being awed by this, they proceeded to pour oil over her and
her on fire. The oil burned - Lucia did not! Still unimpressed, the
beat and tortured her and tried to get her to deny her Christian faith,
she refused. So they stuck a sword into her throat and that did kill
She died a martyr's death on December 13, 304 A.D. For her
she was made a saint.
How did a Sicilian saint become a part of Swedish tradition?
Legend has it that back in the Middle Ages, the Swedish province of
was experiencing a terrible famine and people were starving to death.
the longest night of the shortest day of the year - which also happened
be St. Lucia's Day, December 13th - a light suddenly appeared on Lake
It was a large white boat filled with food, and at the helm was a
young woman in a white gown wearing a crown of lights. Lucia had come
rescue the Swedes! As soon as the ship was unloaded, it disappeared.
Swedish custom is that on Santa Lucia Day, mother and
children get up very early in the morning to make the traditional
(rolls made with saffron) and Luciapepparkakor (ginger cookies).
oldest daughter portrays Lucia dressed in a long white robe with a red
with a crown of lit candles on her head. She carries the tray of food
she leads the procession of mother and the other children who sing the
Santa Lucia song as they march to the father's room.
Traditionally, the winner of the Noble Prize in Literature
has the supreme honor of crowning Stockholm's Santa Lucia.
miracles can happen at midnight on the eve of St. Lucia's Day and
may talk. Traditionally, the cook buries the lutefisk in beech ashes on
Lucia's Day. You don't have to be Swedish to celebrate Santa Lucia -
wasn't a Swede! Välkommen! Varsågod!
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