Lucy (or Lucia) was born in 283 in the Roman Empire and only lived to be 19 years old. She was a Christian and wanted to keep her virginity for God. Therefore, she refused to marry a Pagan, when he proposed. Because of this refusal, the man denounced her as a Christian and the local governor sentenced her to death by burning. However, through a miracle, the flames did not touch and burn her.
Before she finally was killed in 304, her eyes were taken. There are two different stories for this: In the first one, her guards are taking out her eyes with a fork. In the second one, she does it herself and gives them to the man who wanted to marry with the words: “Now let me live to God”, because he had admired her eyes so much. Saint Lucy is the patron saint of the blind and in the arts, she is often portrayed with her eyes on a tray.
She is one of the very few saints, who are celebrated not only by the Catholics and Orthodox, but also by the Lutheran Protestants. So today is a popular day all over Scandinavia. The tradition here started in the 18th century and is also connected to the German “Christkind”-tradition. The Christkind is an angel-like girl, who brings the Christmas presents ““ mostly in Southern Germany.
The Saint Lucy celebrations start with choosing one girl or young women, who plays Lucy. She will be dressed in a white dress and wear a wreath with candles on her head (nowadays these are mostly battery-powered instead of real candles). This Saint Lucy is at the front of a procession and is followed by more girls in white dresses and holding candles in their hands. Together, they sing the Lucy song: