Thursday, December 13, 2007

Happy St. Lucia Day!

I'm sure you are saying "Happy what???" Also known as St. Lucy's Day, it was a Church feast day together with Advent, marking the beginning of the Christmas season. Before the reform of the Gregorian calendar, it also marked the longest night of the year. This is probably the reason why the tradition has lived on in the Scandinavian countries, since the nights in the winter are very dark and long and the idea of light overcoming darkness is appealing.
The meaning of Lucy or Lucia is "light" stemming from the Latin-"lux." In one of the stories associated with her legend, she was working to help Christians hiding in the catacombs. In order to bring with her as much food and drink as possible, she needed to have her hands free. She solved this problem by making a wreath to wear on her head on to which she attached lights. Thus she managed to see in the darkness of the catacombs.
As the tradition goes, the eldest daughter of the family dresses in white and wears a candle wreath while serving a sweet roll and coffee to her parents. Now, for some reason in my family, it was the 2nd daughter. I think Candace served it one year in a white dress with the actual candle wreath, although not lit. Our family typically makes this bread (which we call Christmas Bread) for gifts to family friends and then we also have a loaf for Christmas morning.
This is not really a hard bread to make, but it is quite involved making many dishes dirty and 2 risings. Today I delivered my last batch. That was 16 loaves and I still need to make one for our family to enjoy.
Even if this day has roots in pagan celebrations of the solstice, think again. As you see light this Christmas season, may you remember that it is Jesus that comes to overcome the darkness and illuminate us.


Anonymous said...

Nope, that was me in the candle hat one year. I don't really remember why. Maybe we both did it. Nana probably remembers.

the Chaneys said...

No, it really was me. Maybe Karen did it subsequent years, but it came from my sixth grade "country project"- remember Mr. Dougherty?- and my country was Sweden.
Mystery solved.

Anonymous said...

I thought that it might have been someone's country. I knew it wasn't mine cause mine was Spain. Anyway I think I thought Candace was so cool I did it the next year. Too bad the oldest daughter never did it. I guess Jenny was a that "cool" phase.

Hill Family said...

No, I wanted to, but the dress was too small, I guess. My country was originally Austrialia, but when my request for information got sent to Austria, he let me change my country.