Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

The light of St.Lucy

The light of St.Lucy
The 13th of December is St.Lucy’s Day. The patron saint of Syracuse in Sicily, St.Lucia is the symbol of light and hope. Back in a time where Christianity was frowned upon, and believers used to hide in underground tunnels to avoid persecution, she would bring them food. To help her find her way in the dark tunnels, she wore a wreath of candles to light her path. But eventually, she was discovered and put to death.
Now on St.Lucy’s Day, it’s traditional for the oldest daughter in a family to wear a white gown, red sash and crown of lights, before joining a parade and carrying food and drink to her parents. And in parts of north-eastern Italy, St.Lucy herself visits and leaves gifts when the children aren’t looking. Like you might leave a cookie for Santa, they leave her some coffee, a carrot for her donkey and a glass of wine for her companion Castaldo. And while children long to catch a glimpse of her, they’re scared to. Naughty children get given a lump of coal, instead of a nice gift and if St.Lucy catches them watching her, according to legend, she’ll throw ash in their eyes.
Two great reasons for kids to be on their best behavior in the run up to Christmas.