Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia or Lucy (A.D. 304), according to legend, was a martyr in the persecutions of Diocletian at Catania in Sicily. Many of the ancient light and fire customs of Yuletide are associated with Saint Lucia since her feast day fell on the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice, prior to the calendar reform. In the homes of Norwegians and Swedes on 13 December, a daughter dressed in white with a wreath of candles on her head, comes to awaken the family with a tray of coffee and a braided bread in the shape of the sun called a saffron Lucia. Saint Lucia's presence announces to the demons of winter that their time is over and the sun is returning, that light conquers darkness.