BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE
SANTA LUCIA Part I: Background
Read SWEDISH CHRISTMAS TRADITION WITH ITALIAN ROOTS
I am of German, Czecz and Norwegian ancestry, but have always identified more with the Scandinavian part, probably because I spent so much time with my Norwegian Grandmother and Maternal Aunt who lived in a small town in Wisconsin, Mt. Horeb near Madison. It seemed as though everyone in that town was Norwegian, with a few Swedes thrown in for good measure. All the festivals and celebrations were reminiscent of Norway—the food, costumes and customs.
I was also raised Lutheran. In our church, we celebrated Santa Lucia day. When I was in 8th grade, I was chosen to be Santa Lucia. The good news was that it was an honor to be chosen. The bad news was that it was necessary to walk down the very long isle of the sanctuary with a wreath of lit candles on my head without setting myself and the church on fire. Luckily I made it through.
I also attended a very large Santa Lucia festival in Wisconsin which I will always remember because of all the candles, beautiful music and ambiance.
St. Lucy is believed to have been a Sicilian saint who suffered a sad death in Syracuse, Sicily around 310AD. It is said she was seeking help for her mother’s long-term illness at the Shrine of Saint Agnes in her native Sicily, when an angel appeared to her in a dream beside the shrine. As a result Lucy became a devout Christian, refused to compromise her virginity in marriage and was denounced to the Roman authorities by the man she would have wed.
They threatened to drag her off to a brothel if she did not renounce her Christian beliefs, but were unable to move her even with a thousand men and fifty oxen pulling. So they stacked materials for a fire around her and lit it, but she would not stop (more…)