|"Saint Lucy's Day" by Carl Larsson, 1908|
via J.R.'s Art Place
I've never paid much attention to St. Lucy beyond a casual knowledge of her connection to light and that she is venerated especially in Scandinavian countries. And of the custom of wearing candles for a breakfast celebration, which is illustrated in a lovely fashion in this painting.
Lucy's feast is on 13 December, in Advent. Her feast once coincided with the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, before calendar reforms, so her feast day has become a festival of light.
This is particularly seen in Scandinavian countries, with their long dark winters. There, a young girl dressed in a white dress and a red sash (as the symbol of martyrdom) carries palms and wears a crown or wreath of candles on her head. In Denmark, Norway and Sweden, girls dressed as Lucy carry rolls and cookies in procession as songs are sung. It is said that to vividly celebrate St. Lucy's Day will help one live the long winter days with enough light.