Thursday, 13 December 2012


While the feast of Saint Lucy (Luciadagen or Lussimesse) is not exclusive to the great white north, marking a moment of rebirth and illumination during the darkest time of the year and promising that if one has made it this far one can expect to survive the rest of the harsh winter and the daylight will soon begin to outshine the night (going by the Julian calendar—13 December would be the Winter Solstice, instead of 21 December, the longest night of the year), it is strongly connected to Norwegian and Scandinavian tradition.

Parents of daughters can also expect a special breakfast in bed, in addition to the pageantry and ceremony.  Though perhaps symbolism is divided between celebrations in far climes and in the Mediterranean south, where the lighted crown born by the saint represents the non-consuming fire at her martyrdom rather than a night-light, customs evolved at both poles—in places like Malta, Italy and Finland, Sweden but little in between.  Recognition, however, has spread and new and unique traditions and interpretations have formed. One area where Saint Lucy has taken root is Denmark, who honour the insertion of an unfamiliar holiday, which came about quite recently and an export from their Nordic neighbours as a means to subtly protest occupation during World War II, both with a flame that does not sear but also does not waiver.