ʻAdvent Traditionsʻ - Feast of St. Lucy

The Feast of St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr, is on December 16th . Her Feast, always in the season of Advent, has many perennial customs attached to it. The Pictorial Lives of the Saints (Shea, J.G., 1887recounts her story: 

"THE mother of St. Lucy suffered four years from an issue of blood, and the help of man failed. St. Lucy reminded her mother that a woman in the Gospel had been healed of the same disorder. “St. Agatha,” she said, “stands ever in the sight of Him for whom she died. Only touch her sepulchre with faith, and you will be healed.” They spent the night praying by the tomb, till, overcome by weariness, both fell asleep. St. Agatha appeared in vision to St. Lucy, and calling her sister, foretold her mother’s recovery and her own martyrdom. That instant the cure was effected; and in her gratitude the mother allowed her daughter to distribute her wealth among the poor, and consecrate her virginity to Christ. A young man to whom she had been promised in marriage, accused her as a Christian to the heathen; but our Lord, by a special miracle, saved from outrage this virgin whom He had chosen for His own. The fire kindled around her did her no hurt. Then the sword was plunged into her heart, and the promise made at the tomb of St. Agatha was fulfilled."

On the Feast of St. Lucy there are many customs throughout the world that usually involve ʻlightʻ since that is what her name means. In some places torch processions or elaborate bonfires are lit in her honor. There is also a specifically Swedish Tradition, which has caught on in some Catholic circles here in Hawaii, of having the eldest daughter in the family waking up before the rest of the family and wearing a white gown with a ʻhakuʻ (or wreath) of light. Her and her helpers, know as starboys (because of the star adorned hats they wear), go around to the rest of the family and wake them up with some delicious St. Lucy Day food. In some places, especially Sweden, this custom even takes place as part of a community event via St. Lucy Day procession of Light

For an idea of how to celebrate St. Lucyʻs Day in your family take a look at the following link which has step by step instructions including recipes for St. Lucyʻs Day food :) http://www.wikihow.com/Celebrate-St.-Lucia-Day

image via creative commons. Icon of St. Lucy
image from The Pictorial Lives of the Saints (Shea, J.G., 1887). Public Domain
Procession image via wikimedia commons.By Fredrik Magnusson