Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Santa Lucia 2006

Today is the Feast Day of St. Lucy, or Santa Lucia. As you may remember, I gave my daughter the pseudonym of "Lucia" becase my daughter is blind in one eye, and St. Lucy is the patron saint of people with sight-issues.

In this close-up of my daughter's eyes, you'll see that her left eye reflects white. The white is the band of tissue across the back of her eye that obscures her vision. She also has a folded retina. Lucia's particular eye condition is called PHPV.

Like many a saint before her, Lucy's earthly demise was not pleasant: she was stabbed in the throat after having her eyes torn out. Legend says that her eyesight was restored before death, so it wasn't all bad. However, it gets better. Today, the second graders in Lucia's school will carry candles and sweetened* breads as they visit the different classrooms. In the old Gregorian calendar, December 13th was the shortest day of the year. Santa Lucia's day marked the first inkling of the change in season to welcome longer sunlit days. The Swedish festival of Santa Lucia also celebrates the saint's reputation of hospitality to other people, and on this day, Swedish children bring sweetbreads and hot coffee to their parents. (My own Lucia is off the hook as far as the coffee goes. She is too young to handle mugs of hot beverages.)

I shall attempt to make Lucia bread today. Also, I found a link with some photos of a St. Lucia festival through the blog Norway Needles. Check it out!

*I changed "sweetbreads" to "sweetened breads" after Nonny reminded me that sweetbreads are made from animal parts.

Nine-thirty am update: I just got back from dropping off Lucia at school. A little after 9 am, a procession of children walked down the hall singing "Santa Lucia." The oldest girl wore a white robe, and her green garland held 4 lit candles. The children behind her wore simple silk robes dyed individual colors. The girl with the candle-garland set down a basket of sweet rolls and the line of singers filed out.

Sometimes I have physical reactions to music. I am not sure whether the reactions relate to certain combination of notes or certain keys, but some music will make me spontaneously start to cry. To my chagrin, this morning was one of those times. It's not that I'm ashamed of crying, but I prefer to do it in private so that I don't get other people soggy. I reassured Lucia that I was crying because I was happy, but she still needed special hugs from her teacher as I left the room.

Before I left, I peeked into the basket of sweet rolls. I saw hot cross buns in lieu of Lucia bread. Ah well! I'll attempt to make the bread today.

"Santa Lucia" song:
Tune (MIDI)

Another good link: Santa Lucia, the Queen of Lights


Nonnyhatesbeta said...

By "sweetbreads" you do mean bread that is sweetened and not animal brains or glands right?

I'm not sure St. Lucia having her site restored right before death was really that great. At least before she didn't know what was coming.

I'm sticking it to "the man" with my new profile name-hahahahaha

Saints and Spinners said...

Hey there, Nonnyhatesbeta! Thanks for the sweetbreads correction. At a school where a lot of people are vegetarians, vegans, and raw-foodies, the "sweetbreads" of animal parts would be alarming indeed.

limpyalsohatesbeta said...

That's a nice little tradition there. But as an Irish parent I'd prefer if my kids honored my with bacon, eggs and beer in the morning.

And I'm joining Nonny's Sith Alliance against Beta.

Saints and Spinners said...

Limpyalsohatesbeta: Bacon, eggs AND beer in the morning?! If beer is "liquid bread" then it makes sense. When a friend of mine went to Ireland, he went into the pub one morning and ordered a Coke. The guy next to him remarked that the guy's beer was less expensive than my friend's Coke.

Anonymous said...

I have exactly the same physical reaction to music and most embarassingly begin leaking in public at inopportune moments. I don't know what it is about some music that tends to do it- sometimes it's just the intensity of one note. I'm not really that ashamed of it either, but it's difficult to explain to people sometimes!