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Bringing Light to the Darkness: The Story of Santa Lucia

Lucia comes from the Latin word lux, which means Light. And Light is everything the legend of Santa Lucia is about. Here's a look at Her legacy.

Scandinavian winters are cold.
Scandinavian winters with snow is like a winter wonder land. Unsplash.

December 13th is the day of Santa Lucia and is all about the return of the Light, and the dance between the darkness of winter and the light of summer (winter is introvert and summer is extrovert.) However, before I'll tell you what the legend of Santa Lucia teaches, let me just shortly introduce you to the tradition as we celebrate it in Denmark and throughout Scandinavia.

As above, so below. Saint Lucia with eyes in her hands.
Santa Lucia's symbol is the eyes.

When I was a young teenager, with curly blond hair, I was so lucky to win the school raffle on who was to be the Santa Lucia bride. It was a huge thing! Because of the long, dark winters in Scandinavia, the legend of Santa Lucia is especially strong and an integral part of our winter traditions. Every school, institution, church - yes, every self respecting place will have a Santa Lucia parade.

Santa Lucia was originally born into a noble family from Syracuse in Italy. She was a Catholic saint who supposedly suffered the death of a martyr on December 13, in the century. The shortest day of the year at that time. That date is also known as the day of the Winter Solstice. Today, December 21st is the shortest day in the year and is as such, the day where we celebrate her tradition. You can see what a Lucia parade looks like in the beginning of the video clip below. This parade is from Sweden, but identical to those in Denmark, Norway and Finland. Italy has their own Santa Lucia traditions.

The 'Lucia bride' is the one with the lights in her hair as you can see below.

Winter is a very magical and mystical time, and has been the symbol of going deep within ourselves to reach deep transformation for as long as we know. Only through this "death of winter" will new divine seeds be conceived deep in the womb of the Earth to be birthed at spring time. Can you see the Circle of Life in play here? All seasons are unique in themselves, yet, they are all connected to the Oneness of Life.

The way Italy and Scandinavia celebrates Santa Lucia are very different. And even though we celebrate her at Christmas time, Santa Lucia has nothing to do with Christmas. However, she has, as mentioned before, everything to do with Winter Solstice. The symbolism of Lucia is one the beautiful remains of a very old European tradition where winter, and the different seasons, had a spiritual meaning.

Each season had its own symbolic lesson to teach about the Circle of Life and how we humans, and our psyche, was connected to this cycle.

Now, if you never have had the honor of spending an entire winter in Scandinavia, it can probably be a little bit difficult to imagine the experience of a long period with short days of sunlight. But at night, when freezing, the stars sparkle and reflect the light in the ice crystals. These nights are more beautiful than at any other time during the year.

During the Lucia parade, we always sing a 'Song for Santa Lucia'. The Danish version has been reduced quite a bit unfortunately, but the English version (see further down below) has remained as it was originally written. The song gives us essential information about Santa Lucia such as:

On our darkest night, Lucia arrives with her shining Light

Something is stirring, there is a special atmosphere of heightened expectations, upon her arrival

Lucia has lights in her hair

Darkness disappears when she arrives (this can mean many things)

Her presence opens portals for the Light to enter the Earth/earthly realm

She brings "such wonderful words to us mortals". What words? About what? Where are these words, or lessons, stored?

The way 'mortals' are being used, it indicates that she is a medium for the Holy Spirit, or an initiate. Her words and presence of Light will be renewed and reborn with the change of seasons. Light will rise again in all innocence. However, 'Light' in this context, can also refer to a higher kind of consciousness.

What the the lyrics doesn't mention, is that she was blinded upon her martyr death as a part of the torture she endured, was having her eyes pulled out. So whenever you see a young female figure with eyes on a small plate or in her hands, you see a figure of Santa Lucia.

Symbolically, what does that mean? It means that Lucia lost her earthly eyes, because she saw within. She saw and understood the world unseen and invisible to us 'mortals' and spoke of what she experienced there: "she brings such wonderful words to us mortals" the song says.

We see the same kind of reference to blindness as a doorway into the unseen worlds in the mythology about Medusa.

The very story of Santa Lucia, is the lesson of finding and opening to the Light within ourselves here on Earth (the darkness). And her wonderful words teach us how to do that.

I am wishing you all a truly magical night of Light. May the glorious Light of Santa Lucia inspire you, guide you and warm you.

With love, Louise

Song for Santa Lucia

Nightly, go heavy hearts

Round farm and steading

On earth, where sun departs,

shadows are spreading.

Then on our darkest night,

Comes with her shining light

Sankta Lucia! Sankta Lucia!

Then on our darkest night,

Comes with her shining light

Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia.

Night-darkling, huge and still.

Hark, something's stirring!

In all our silent rooms,

Wingbeats are whisp'ring!

Stands on our threshold there,

White clad, lights in her hair,

Sankta Lucia! Sankta Lucia!

Stands on our threshold there,

White clad, lights in her hair,

Sankta Lucia! Sankta Lucia!

Darkness shall fly away

Through earthly portals.

She brings such wonderful

words to us mortals!

Daylight, again renewed

will rise, all rosy-hued!

Sankta Lucia! Sankta Lucia!

Daylight, again renewed,

will rise, all rosy-hued.

Sankta Lucia! Sankta Lucia!

(Copyrights of lyrics are unknown)

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