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Saint Lucy, Virgin & Martyr
Feast Day (Memorial): December 13
Saint Lucy, or “Santa Lucia,” lived in the very late third century on the island of Sicily. She was martyred in the year 304. We celebrate Lucy’s feast day on December 13th. There are traditional ways of celebrating Lucy’s feast day, especially in Scandinavian countries.
Saint Lucy is one of the saints I have portrayed. I have portrayed Saint Lucy at breakfasts on her feast day (for adults, as well as children.) I have also portrayed Saint Lucy for Story Time with children. And I have portrayed Saint Lucy at Advent Evenings of Renewal for adults.
A “costume” for Saint Lucy is easy to come by. If you don’t have a simple white gown and a red sash, contact your local parish and ask to borrow an alb and a red cincture. You can either make a Saint Lucy crown, or purchase one with battery-operated candles. I have seen Saint Lucy crowns with five, six, and seven candles. I prefer ones with five candles because of the connection with the Parable of the Five Wise Virgins (see handout above). The Gospel assigned to the Feast of Saint Lucy is Matthew 25:1-13 (The Parable of the Ten Virgins). In Scandinavia, the Lucy Crown often has seven candles. You can also use this as a catechetical tool, making connections with the seven sacraments.
Saint Lucy is often accompanied by other attendants, as well as “Star Boys.” It is very simple to make Star Boy hats and “wands.” If Star Boys don’t have a simple white garment to wear, they can also borrow albs from your parish.
At my parish, Saint Lucy is one of the Patron Saints of our second grade class. Some years on December 13th, the second graders make Lucia Crowns and Star Boy Hats, and join in an Entrance Procession at morning Mass to celebrate their feast day! If you plan something like this, make sure to check first with your pastor/presider for approval, and to coordinate the logistics!
The Crayola web site has instructions for making a Lucia Crown and a Star Boy Hat. Hemslöjd is a good on line source for many items related to Saint Lucy and the celebration of her feast day. They sell everything from Saint Lucy Crowns with battery operated candles, to napkins for the feast day, to Saint Lucy ornaments and figurines, etc.
Don't forget to sing the "Santa Lucia" song at your Saint Lucy Celebration. Below you can watch this song being performed at the Santa Lucia Celebration at the Royal Cathedral in Stockholm. Note the traditional Lucia and Star Boy costumes!
You can watch a video below about the making of Swedish Saffron buns (Lussekatter). Please note that measurements are in Metric.
There are several books published about Saint Lucy and/or the celebration of her feast day. Check to see if these are available at your local library. If not, you can purchase them online. Just Google the title and/or ISBN number.
Lucia, Saint of Light by Katherine Bolger Hyde, illustrated by Daria Fisher (ISBN 978-0-9822770-4-1) is published by Conciliar Press. It tells both the story of the celebration of Saint Lucy's feast day, as well as a story about Saint Lucy's life. The book includes music and words (in English) to the "Santa Lucia" song, as well as a recipe for Lussekatter. This book is written in the Orthodox tradition, and also contains the Orthodox Aposticha for the Feast of St. Lucia.
Lucia Morning in Sweden is written by Ewa Rydaker, with illustrations by Carina Stahlberg (ISBN 91-631-1730-4). This book tells the story of the celebration of Saint Lucy's feast day at the Svennson's home. There is also a page with the story of Saint Lucy. The book also contains two recipes, the "Santa Lucia" song, as well as a pattern for a Lucia/Starboy gown.
Lucia, Child of Light (ISBN 0-916871-12-6) is written by Florence Ekstrand. This book gives the history and traditions of Sweden's Lucia celebration. A lot of background and history of the celebration is included, along with the song and recipes.
Domenico Beccafumi, 1521
Click on image above to download our St. Lucy handout.