St. Lucy Trivia
All the Interesting Facts Worth Knowing

  • The candle is one of the earliest inventions of the ancient world. Ancient Egyptian tombs at Thebes bear relief carvings of cone-shaped candles on dish-like holders. The oldest known candle fragment was found at Vaison, near Avignon, in France and dates from the 1st century C.E.
  • The pagan goddess Freya, had a brother named Frey to whom sacrifices were offered at Yule. She was associated with love, fertility, war, and wealth. She wore a bright necklace and drove a chariot pulled by cats.
  • According to legend, hunger during a famine had weakened so many people in Syracuse that they went as a group to church to ask the saint for deliverance. While they were praying, a ship loaded with grain sailed into the harbor. So to celebrate Santa Lucia Day, Italians eat instead of bread a boiled wheat dish called cuccia or cuccidata.
  • Before the 16th-century Gregorian calendar reform, St. Lucy's Day fell on the winter solstice. Legends claimed that the saint blinded herself on this, the shortest day of the year.
  • An old Scandinavian custom forbade all turning motions on St. Lucy's Day, including spinning, stirring, and working a grindstone. Superstitions warned that these circular motions might interfere with the sun's change of course.
  • Folk belief hinted that miracles occurred at midnight on St. Lucy's Eve. Those awake at this potent hour might hear cattle speaking or see running water turn into wine.
  • One custom involved writing Lucy's name and drawing a picture of a girl alongside it on doors and fences in the hopes that the saint would hasten the end of winter.
  • Some St. Lucy-related folklore advised completion of certain tasks by her day: the threshing of all grain from the year's harvest, the completion of the season's spinning and weaving, and the completion of all Christmas cleaning and decorating. Other traditions suggested that farmers slaughter the Christmas pig on St. Lucy's Day and that cooks bury the lutfisken, a traditional Christmas fish, in beech ashes on St. Lucy's Day to be ready by Christmas.
  • Lucia is often accompanied by star boys, an ancient tradition which dates back to the time when boys used to go door-to-door playing tricks, singing and begging for money to celebrate the winter solstice. 
  • John Donne (1572-1631) wrote "A Nocturnal Upon St. Lucy's Day."
  • Each year the honor of crowning Stockholm's Lucy bride goes to the winner of the Nobel Prize in literature.

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