CNA Staff, Dec 13, 2023 / 04:45 am
St. Lucy’s Day, also known as Lucia Day, is a traditional Swedish celebration filled with children in costumes, elaborate processions, and Swedish treats — all honoring the beloved saint.
St. Lucy, whose feast day is celebrated by the Catholic Church on Dec. 13, was a virgin and martyr from Syracuse, Sicily, born in the year 283. The young woman, whose name means “light,” devoted herself to God and to serving the poor.
Legend has it that when Lucy was taking food and supplies to Christians hiding in the catacombs during the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, in order to bring as much as possible in both hands, she wore a candle-lit wreath on her head to light her way.
That story has inspired a long-standing annual tradition of Swedish candle-lit processions honoring St. Lucy on her feast day. Girls dress in long white robes with red sashes. A young girl selected to be “Lucia” — the Italian name for Lucy — wearing a wreath with lit candles in addition to the white robe, leads the “Luciatåg” procession. She is followed by her handmaidens, who also carry a candle; star boys, who carry stars on sticks and have tall paper cones on their heads; and gingerbread men, who carry lit lanterns.