St. Lucia

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December 13: St. Lucia

St. Lucia (also called Lucy) was a fourth-century Italian martyr. Her name is derived from the Latin lux, meaning “light,” and thus she is associated with festivals of light. Before the Gregorian calendar reform in 1582 (adopted in Great Britain and the American colonies in 1752), her feast day occurred on the shortest day of the year (hence the saying “Lucy light, Lucy light; Shortest day and longest night”). St. Lucia’s Day is celebrated especially in Italy and in Sweden, where the oldest (or sometimes youngest) daughter dons a crown of burning candles and wakes the family with coffee and St. Lucia buns (sweet rolls seasoned with saffron).