Friday, December 14, 2007

Sta. Lucia, Dec. 13

Glögg is a swedish spiced-wine punch containing boiled fruit and brandy/aquavit. Always served hot and sometimes misspelled glog or glug to English speaking countries and also ofeten served w/out alcohol. Hurray!!! Good for me!!!

This is the tradition saffron bun. Lucia Day will be a perfect day. The cute Lucia miniature is a picture of a co-blogger that i found so fantastic. Hope i find this and own myself so, i can decorate my crib next year.

Yesterday, i was a lil busy assisting my daughter Lizah in her Lucia Day.

Hmmmm...curious lang no? Am born devoted catholic but since i can remember, i never heard about Lucia Day. Well, i know that we have Sta. Lucia, a saint.

I was really amazed the first year i came in Sweden. That was awhile ago. In Europe, specially in Sweden, celebrate the Sta. Lucia Day.

Lucia's day symbolically opens the Christmas celebrations in Scandinavia bringing hope and light during the darkest months of the year

- Who is Sta. Lucia? was a saint because of her kindness and her love. She was an Italian Christian who lived in Sicily in the 4th century. Some people believe she once visited Sweden. December 13th is also her feast day.

The way she became a saint was that a man who loved her and Lucia didn't like him, Lucia's mother asked her to marry the man but she refused so the man heard about this and he said he would burn her. But Lucia prayed to God to have the power to survive the fire. Because of her kindness to others her wish was granted. The man tried to burn her but she had the power to withstand fire so the man got a sword and stuck it into Lucia's throat. Still Lucia survived for three more hours speaking beautiful words.

- How we celebrate? Schools, daycares & every municipalities around Sweden designate (in voting) a Sta. Lucia that will be crown on Dec. 13, a young woman, dressed in a white gown, and wearing a red sash and a crown of lingonberry twigs and blazing candles, would go from one farm to the next carrying a torch to light her way, bringing baked goods, stopping to visit at each house and returning home by break of day. Every village had its own Lucia. The custom is thought to have begun in some of the richer farming districts of Sweden and still persists although the crowns are now electric lights.

Below is the short myth why Scandinavians celebrate this very special day.

"Lucia symbolizes light and growth for human and beast as she emerges out of the darkness. She is said to have been beheaded by the sword during the persecutions of Diocletian at Catania in Sicily. Her body was later brought to Constantinople and finally to Venice, where she is now resting in the church of Santa Lucia. Because her name means "light" she very early became the great patron saint for the "light of the body"--the eyes. Many of the ancient light and fire customs of the Yuletide became associated with her day. Thus we find "Lucy candles" lighted in the homes and "Lucy fires" burned in the outdoors. Before the Reformation Saint Lucy's Day was one of unusual celebration and festivity because, for the people of Sweden and Norway, she was the great "light saint" who turned the tides of their long winter and brought the light of the day to renewed victory.

Before the calendar reform, her original feast day (the day of her martyrdom) happened to fall on the shortest day of the year. The winter solstice was December 13 by the Julian calendar rather than December 21, which it became with the change to the Gregorian calendar in the 1300s, linking it with the far older Yule and Winter festivals of pre-Christian times. Lucy's lore survived the Reformation and calendar reform, which brought the solstice to December 23.

Another Scandianavian custom was for children, on the eve of December 13, to write the word "Lussi" on doors, fences, and walls. In ancient times the purpose of this practice was to announce to the demons of winter that their reign was broken on Saint Lucy's Day, that the sun would return again and the days become longer. "Lucy fires" used to be burned in many parts of northern Europe on December 13. Into the bonfires people would throw incense, and while the flames rose, trumpets and flutes were playing to celebrate the changing of the suns's course."

From Weiser, The Holyday Book

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