St. Lucia Day

On the heels of St. Nicholas day, comes St. Lucia day! We've enjoyed learning about these people of both history and legend, whose memories have become so closely associated with Christmas in various countries. We like to keep Christmas about the nativity, but learning about these special people who loved Christ is a fun way to prepare for Christmas.

Lucy of Syracuse, according to the stories, carried food down to the Christians hiding from persecution in the catacombs. With her arms full of bread, she put candles in a wreath on her head to light the way. She was martyred for her faith during the reign of Diocletian in 304 AD.

Lucy Cats

We made bread the day before so that we could have them for breakfast this morning. I was confused why the buns, called Lussekatter or Lucy cats, were shaped like an S, or what cats had to do with St. Lucia! Quite the mystery, until I read this:
The Lucy cat is an interesting little cake. If you look closely it has the appearance of two eyes. We remember that Jesus told us how the eye is the light of the body. Yet, in the tradition of St. Lucy, her physical eyes were gouged out. Yet, she saw the light of Christ with her spiritual eyes. And so, in the Lucy Cats, she reminds us that we need to open our spiritual eyes so that we can also see the light and not fear the darkness.  During the longest night of darkness, and with a simple pastry, she tells us to have faith and to rejoice and sing. As St. John wrote, “And the light shined in the darkness, and the darkness could not overcome it.” (John 1.5) - source
 What a sweet story for the weeks leading up to Christmas, while we are anticipating for the coming of Christ the true light!

Materials: felt cut in squiggly-leafy shaped strips,
green and yellow (and orange) pipe cleaners,
white pony beads and a bit of fabric glue.

The girls and I made St. Lucia wreaths from pipe cleaners and felt. I don't use pipe cleaners often, but a friend suggested this activity and we thought we'd give it a try. The original tutorial is from here, but I used felt cut into leaf shapes instead of fabric. 
fun with beads and pipe cleaners. 

The girls really liked twisting the pipe cleaners and putting the beads on. Getting the bead-candles to stand up was definitely the hardest part. I let the girls go play while I wound the leaves on, and was able to prop the candles of with the leaves. Then they came back to help me glue the berries on. 

We were pretty pleased with the results. :)

They make a cute table decoration as well, and will store nicely for next year I hope. 

Happy St. Lucia day! May your eyes be full of light!

The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. - Matthew 6:22

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