Updated: Jan 23
Santa Lucia Day is celebrated in Sweden and celebrates the martyrdom of an early Christian Saint. Lucia is actually Italian by birth and lived during the time of brutal persecution of early Christians. Many fled for their lives and hid in the Catacombs without food, warmth or water to survive. Lucia brought them blankets and food to help them during the winter months, lighting her way by having a wreath of candles on her head. Unfortunately, her kindness ended up being her downfall. When she was discovered, Lucia was taken to trial, beaten, and had both her eyes removed for refusing to denounce her faith. She has burned at the stake on the winter solstice in the year 304 AD.
The timeliness of her death, paired with the symbolism of her candles, and the removal of her eyes was poetic cruelty and what inevitably made her become the patron saint of light. On Santa Lucia Day in Sweden, the oldest daughter dresses in white (angelic purity), a red sash around her waist (a symbol of martyrdom), and a crown of candles on her head -- taking on the role of Sant Lucia -- and brings her family cocoa and breakfast in bed. It's a beautiful tradition, bringing light, love, and hope to the ones you love during the coldest night of the year.