December, 13rd is the shortest day of the year, but it is also the day we celebrate a woman, saint and martyr: Santa Lucia. In Italy that’s a very popular celebration, in the north-east it stands in for Santa Claus and brings gifts to children who behaved well. In the south, above all in Syracuse, here in Sicily, it’s a day of feast, when men with green hats carry her statue in procession screaming her name and saying: “Serausana iè” (that means: “she’s from Syracuse”).
It’s such a pride for the inhabitants of the town, that if you ever will take part to the procession in her honour, you will come across very touched people and you will be surprised by the composure of the faithful “watchers” and by the deafening silence that is broken just by the scream ““Serausana iè, Viva Santa Lucia” (that is: “She’s from Syracuse, W Santa Lucia”).
Santa Lucia is a woman from Syracuse, whose amazing story is known just by few.
The story of a strong woman, one of those that should be told from mothers to sons.
Let’s start from the beginning. Lucia lived between III and IV century and belonged to a rich family. She was orphaned by father and bethroted to a pagan. She lived with her mother Eitichia, who fell ill. Lucia, who was worried for her, went on pilgrimage with other people from Syracuse to the tomb of Sant’Agata to ask for her mother’s recovery.
Once on her knees to pray, she fell asleep. Sant’Agata appeared in her dreams and told her that she herself could make her wish come true. In addition to that, the Saint preannounced her the patronage of her town and the martyrdom.
Once again in Syracuse, seeing her mother recovering, Lucia took the decision to consecrate herself to Christ. Then she left her fiancè and gave all her possesions to the most in needs.
At that point, the shameful man whom she was engaged with was worried for the lost of the dower, and so he denounced her as a Christian. Lucia undertook the trial where all her pride and her faith together with her temperament revelead themselves and embarassed the judge more and more times.
Since she was a very strong girl, she had to die.
The judge gave the order to take her by force, but she became so heavy that nor ten men and oxen together could lift her from the ground; they lighted a fire, but she remained unharmed, untill with a dagger to her throat, she was beheaded and found death.
No matter which your own faith is, you will like this story a lot: it’s not the classic fairy tale where “everybody lived happily ever after”, but that’s the story of a strong girl, who was ready to fight and die for what she believed in. On December, 13rd, whatever is your way to celebrate Santa Lucia, tell this story to your daughters, tell them how, sometimes, it is more amazing and interesting being a warrior than being a charmful princess.
Be a warrior like Santa Lucia and like many of us!