Also known as Feast of Saint Lucy, Santa Lucia Day is a huge celebration across Italy. The day falls on the 13th December and commemorates the legend that Saint Lucy brought food and aid to Christians in hiding during the 3rd century. Legend has it that famine ended on this feast day, and many consider the date as the arrival of the festive season. Cuccia and boiled berries mixed with honey and ricotta is eaten as a tradition on this day.
In Siracusa, a statue of the saint is carried to the Church of Santa Lucia on a golden coffin, one of the biggest celebrations across the country. But the celebration is not only restricted to Italy; many countries across Scandinavia join in the festivities as well, particularly Norway and Sweden. In the regions of Lombardy, Veneto and Sicily among others, children of all ages are treated with gifts. Similar to leaving Father Christmas a glass of milk and a mince pie in England over the Christmas period, it is common for children to leave coffee for Santa Lucia, and a carrot for her donkey and a glass of wine for her escort, Castaldo.
With Santa Lucia Day and Christmas falling within the same two months, who wouldn’t want to live Italian? Join in the festivities this year!