St. Lucia Day is a very important celebration in the small island of St. Lucia. It is also celebrated outside of St. Lucia in a number of other countries. It is a Roman Catholic Holiday in which there is a religious ceremony followed by a feast. Different countries celebrate the holiday differently but this article is based on the celebrations held in the island of St. Lucia.
The History of the Holiday
St. Lucy was a martyr from Sicily; she was made a patron saint after she died. Her mother at some point was very ill and was miraculously cured. This resulted in St. Lucy’s decision to commit herself to God and maintain her virginity as such. It is said that she took food to Christian’s who were hiding underground. She wore a wreath on her head with candles in it so that she could see in the dark tunnels while carrying the food. They tried to kill her because of this but she survived the sword blows. After that the Romans attempted to put her to death by burning her.
Other Places that Celebrate the Holiday
The holiday is celebrated outside of St. Lucia in places like Finland, Sweden, Bosnia, Croatia, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland.
Features of the Celebrations in Different Cultures
The day is celebrated on the 13th of December which is also her saint’s day on the Catholic Church Calendar. In Scandinavia the night before the holiday children leave their shoes outside so that St. Lucy can leave presents for them.
In St. Lucia families dress their oldest daughters in white and have them wear wreathes on their heads that hold seven candles while they serve coffee and island buns to family members. The St. Lucia celebrations also include processions throughout the city where school girls wear wreaths while giving out treats to people in nursing homes, shoppers and church goers.
Children in Italy leave food for St. Lucy because she will leave gifts for them in return. They say that if anybody sees her they will have ashes thrown into their eyes. They cook a dish made from wheat berries called Cuccia which is eaten on the day.