Danish Canadian Museum December 13th 2020
These are some of the legends associated with St. Lucia.
On December 13th they celebrate Saint Lucia’s Day, a day of great celebrating and merriment, Lucia is the saint of light. The Story of Saint Lucia stretches back in time some believe to the 18th century others to the times of the Vikings and the Roman Empire. According to legend, Lucia was a brave young woman from the island of Sicily. When Lucia heard about the persecution of Christians by the Emperor, she gave one Christian family her entire dowry. Legend has it that Lucia, to keep her hands free, wore a wreath with candles on her head so that she could (illegally) feed the poor Christians hiding in the catacombs of ancient Rome. This so angered her betrothed husband, that he told authorities that Lucia secretly practiced Christianity. Lucia, who died a martyr’s death, was much admired for her courage, generosity, and faith.
Viking sailors heard of the story of a young girl living in Italy, who had died for her Christian beliefs. The Vikings, who later became 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 this day (Saint Lucia’s Day) the Lucia procession takes place in most schools, businesses, and homes. Children from various school choirs are dressed in white each carrying a candle, one child is chosen to be the “Lucia” bride and she is dressed in white robes and red ribbons and wears a crown of candles on her head leading the procession. The lights are turned off and the procession walks the corridors singing the Lucia song. In Families 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.