December 13th marks the Swedish holiday, Luciadagen or the Feast of St. Lucia. Lucia originally from Syracuse in Sicily, was a martyr for the Christian faith in the third century. It is said that during and after her death she was protected with the spirit of God and that is why she became a saint. She is also said that she appeared in a glowing heavenly light on a boat to Sweden during a famine in the Middle Ages and brought bread; wearing a crown of candles on her head.
Just like old traditions of Christmas, Yule and Advent, Luciadagen is celebrated during the darkest day of winter in Sweden, December 13th. One of the best books to use during this time to talk about this “festival of lights” is Lucia Saint of Light (2008) by Katherine Bolger Hyde and illustrated by Daria Fisher. This picture book is great for teaching younger children how Luciadagen is celebrated today in Sweden and older children the history of the holiday.
Also included in the back of the book is a song about Saint Lucia, a recipe for Lussekatter (Lucia Cat Buns) and many, many resources, books and websites about Saint Lucia Day. For more information see Conciliar Press.
Have a wonderful holiday, as you celebrate the season of light and life.