|Santa Lucia day, Dec. 13||| Print ||
December 13 is the day in honor of Santa Lucia.
Santa Lucia was a rich, young Christian girl who was martyred in 304 A.D. She chose to die rather than be married to a pagan, who then had her tortured and murdered. She died on the longest night of the year, December 13th, and is the patron saint of those who are blind and suffer with eye problems. In fact, her name means "light".
There are several versions of St. Lucia's story and she is celebrated in other countries as well as Sicily.
One legend has it that during the great Sicilian famine of 1582, a large group went to the church to pray to 'Santa Lucia' for an end to the famine. While they prayed, a ship came into the Syracuse (Siracusa, Sicily) harbor filled with wheat and they were saved. They were so famished that they did not process the wheat into flour. Instead, they boiled the unprocessed wheat berries, and called it Cuccia or Cuccidata.
In Italy, a few towns, especially Siracusa Sicily, will have a big celebration.
Below is Rosanna Spallino performing at the Santa Lucia celebration at the Italian Club in Ybor City, December 2009.