Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saint Lucy Day: The Saint of the Light and the longest night of the year

It's a special day for us, italian and european people.... This is the day children await the most (In some parts of Italy and Europe, Saint Lucy brings gifts to children like Santa Claus).
Celebrated in many parts of the world, but in Sweden above all, Lucy is a Saint that is born from an ancient legend of the Sicily (South Italy).

(Saint Lucy's body, Venezia, Church of Saint Lucy,Italy. Go to see the Church at )


(Santa Lucia, oil on canvas, scuola popolare siciliana del secolo XVIII. Chiesa Madre. Santa Maria di Licodia)

from Wikipedia..." Her feast day in the West is December 13, by the unreformed Julian Calendar the longest night of the year; with a name derived from lux, lucis "light", she is the patron saint of those who are blind. St. Lucy is one of the very few saints celebrated by members of the Lutheran Church among the Scandinavian peoples (Danen, Swedes, Finns and Norwegians) who take part in Saint Lucy's Day celebrations that retain many indigenous Germanic pagan pre-Christian midwinter elements...
In medieval accounts, St. Lucy's eyes are gouged out prior to her execution.

In art, her eyes sometimes appear on a plate that she's holding.

(Saint Lucy of Siracuse, Italy)

Dante also mentions Lucia in Inferno Canto II as the messenger "of all cruelty the foe" sent to Beatrice from "The blessed Dame" (Divine Mercy), to rouse Beatrice to send Virgil to Dante's aid. She has instructed Virgil to guide Dante through Hell and Purgatory. Lucia is only referenced indirectly in Virgil's discourse within the narrative and doesn't appear; the reasons for her appearing in this intermediary role are still somewhat unclear to scholars, although doubtless Dante had some allegorical end in mind, perhaps having Lucy as a figure of Illuminating Grace or Mercy or even Justice.[13]Nonetheless Dante obviously regarded Lucia with great reverence, placing her opposite Adam within the Mystic Rose in Canto XXXII of the Paradiso.

In Mark Musa's translation of Dante's Purgatorio, it is noted that Lucy was admired by an undesirable suitor for her beautiful eyes. To stay chaste she plucked out her own eyes, a great sacrifice for which God gave her a pair of even more beautiful eyes.

(Francesco del Cossa, Saint Lucy)

...Lucy's name also played a large part in naming Lucy as a patron saint of the blind and those with eye-trouble. She was the patroness of Syracuse. (Italy)

(Saint Lucy,Domenico Beccafumi, Italy)

(Saint Lucy's burial, Caravaggio, Italy)

Is It for you a special Day around the World? I want to know! write on my blog!


Heidi Alfonzo said...

I am very familiar with St. Lucy Day. In Venezuela, of course, we often hear about the lives of lots of saints, but being a Jew myself, there is a lot I never got to pay much attention to.

However, years later, when I was in my late teens, I started to write sort of a novel whose main character, Alexandra, was a Swedish young lady and so I did extensive research on anything Sweden and I was very taken by the celebration of St. Lucy.

I have a St. Lucy wooden doll in my room I bought during that time. She is wearing her customary white dress and her crown of candles! :D Cassie) said...

very interesting..I enjoyed reading about her.

3rdEyeMuse said...

sorry (and I hope I don't sound pathetic admiting to this), but I didn't even know there was a St. Lucy ... I do appreciate the lesson & hope yours was full of love, light & laughter!

Gufobardo said...

ehehhehh Italy IS the Country of Saints! so don't worry if you don't know Saint Lucy eheheheh. I hope you like the Saint Lucy's paintings!

Gufobardo said...

Heidi, please send to me the photo of your doll and please send your novel, I love to see and read!!!The story of Saint Lucy is a good way to celebrate the Winter and the Light, if you are religious or not...!

That Creative Place said...

Hi Stef,

My grandson was telling me yesterday that they celebrated Santa Lucia day in his Montesorri school!


Gufobardo said...

Maria Montessori, a great italian woman! Her scholastic metod is so important for our children. Thanks for your post my dear

Sonia said...

Wonderful insight. I did not know about St Lucy either. Thank you for the lesson. The artwork is so beautiful. Italian renaissance and spiritual art amazes me how strong, vibrant, and lifelike the colors are even after hundreds of years. Love history, thank you.

Sonia ;)

April Jarocka said...

Just want to say thanks for following my blog. Merry Christmas!

Elizabeth said...

What wonderful St.Lucy Day thoughts.
Here in the US it's more St.Nick than St.Lucy.
We used to live in Florence years ago!

willow said...

I was curious about the lovely tradion of St. Lucy's day and did a post on my blog last week, too. I have a small tree ornament of a girl wearing the wreath with candles.

alimaky_woodedwoods said...

St. Lucy is depicted so beautifully. She would grace any christmas tree as a doll

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