The Italian Legacy of Sweden: Santa Lucia
When Hilary (aka Missfoster) asked us writers in Sweden who would like to write an article on Santa Lucia’s Day I thought that it wasn’t something for me.
“This is my first Santa Lucia in Sweden in my whole lifetime and I dunno much about it, maybe somebody else like a Swede should write about it, not an Italian!”
And I thought that Thomas did an excellent job already with his post on Lucia…
The only thing I know about Santa Lucia in Italy is a funny rhyme:
“Santa Lucia, il giorno più corto che ci sia.”
Which means “Saint Lucie, the shortest of the days”, if referred to sunlight makes perfect sense both in Italy and Sweden.
Then I did some quick research over the Internet, curious to know the story of the saint, Lucia.
She was Italian, off course, but my eyes became stuck on the city where she came from: Siracusa.
As far as I know almost every city of Italy has it’s own saint and when it comes to that day normally it is a city wide holiday (no work since Italians are lazy).
Siracusa is in Sicily… and in an ogonblick everything became clear in my mind: I knew why Santa Lucia’s day is more important in Sweden than in Italy.
The Normans, I wrote about them on and old article, brought back to Sweden the cult of the saint so important for the whole area where they sovreigned (Naples and below all the way to Sicily), after they settled down in the south of Italy!
Since 1970 in the City of Siracusa there takes place an event called “Lucia di Svezia e Settimana Svedese” “Lucie of Sweden and the Swedish Week”. At the end of the week, which is on the 20th of December, young Swedish girls “Lucia di Svezia” go to Italy to represent Lucia, as you can see in the video.
Since Swedish girls are VERY important to Italians they are heavily escorted by the carabinieri, our military police 🙂
Images via Wikipedia.org.