White-clad, with flame-crown’d hair:
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia.
I hear you singing this refrain as I enter your homes on this dark night, bearing my gifts of light for your souls and bread for your bodies. Oh, Hail! Do you know me? Even my name speaks of the Light. I am Lucia, that One whose visit heralds the Return of the Sun.
In elder times, you called me by other names. In ancient Rome, I was Juno Lucina, midwife to the newborn Sun. In the northlands, I was Freya, she of the golden necklace, Bride of the Vanir. I flew across the night sky in an amber chariot drawn by my beloved cats and entered your homes before dawn. My cats came along, though mysteriously changed into nourishing cakes! You knew me too as Frigga of the hearth and home, when I sat at my spinning wheel and spun threads of sunlight to brighten the morning sky.
They say of me: ‘Honor St. Lucy with great good cheer, and you shall have plenty for all of the year!’ And it’s true! You do me honor when you gather in my name. I bring to you the gift of the gathering of friends and family, and the promise of longer days.
More than anything, I am the Lightbringer, who appears mysteriously out of the darkest night with hope and sustenance for all.”