Friday, December 5, 2014

Celebrate Santa Lucia for Christmas, December 13th

Saint Lucia martyred for her faith is called, "Light" She is the patron
 saint for the blind among many Orthodox Christians.
       Saint Lucia's Day is on the 13th of December, in Advent. Her feast once coincided with the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year before calendar reforms, so her feastday has become a festival of light. St. Lucia’s Day is celebrated most commonly in Scandinavia, where it is a major feast day, and even in Italy with each emphasizing a different aspect of the story. This feast is particularly seen the in Scandinavian countries, with their long dark winters. There, a young girl dressed in a white dress and a red sash (as the symbol of martyrdom) carries palms and wears a crown or wreath of candles on her head. In both Norway and Sweden, girls dressed as Lucy carry rolls and cookies in procession as songs are sung. It is said that to vividly celebrate St. Lucy's Day will help one live the long winter days with enough light.
       In Italy, the Saint Lucy's Day is a church feast day dedicated to Lucia of Syracuse (d.304), also known as Saint Lucy, and is observed on 13 December. A special devotion to St. Lucy is practiced in the Italian regions of Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Trentino-Alto Adige, in the North of the country, and Sicily, in the South, as well as in Croatian coastal region of Dalmatia.
       Saint Lucia is one of the few saints celebrated by the overwhelmingly Lutheran Nordic people — Danes; Swedes; Finns and Norwegians but also in USA and Canada and Italy. The St. Lucy's Day celebrations retain many indigenous Germanic pagan, pre-Christian midwinter elements. Some of the practices associated with the day predate the adoption of Christianity in Scandinavia, and like much of Scandinavian folklore and even religiosity, is centered on the annual struggle between light and darkness.
       The Nordic observation of St. Lucy is first attested in the Middle Ages, and continued after the Protestant Reformation in the 1520s and 1530s, although the modern celebration is only about 200 years old. It is likely that tradition owes its popularity in the Nordic countries to the extreme change in daylight hours between the seasons in this region.
       The pre-Christian holiday of Yule, or jól, was the most important holiday in Scandinavia and Northern Europe. Originally the observance of the winter solstice, and the rebirth of the sun, it brought about many practices that remain in the Advent and Christmas celebrations today. The Yule season was a time for feasting, drinking, gift-giving, and gatherings, but also the season of awareness and fear of the forces of the dark. Read more...

       "Every Jultide season the Lindsborg Swedish Folk Dancers, a group of high school students, celebrate St. Lucia Day on the Saturday closest to the traditional date of December 13. The town of Lindsborg, Kansas was founded by settlers from Sweden in 1869. Townsfolk of both Swedish and non-Swedish decent honor the early pioneers with Swedish festivals throughout the year. For more see www.visitlindsborg.com."

More Links to Saint Lucia's Day Celebrations:

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