Today is the feast day of St. Lucy, a wonderful opportunity for celebrating the drawing ever nearer of the Light of the world in the person of Jesus. When the children were little, this day, like the feast of St. Nicholas, helped us celebrate Advent rather than just focus on how long it was 'til Christmas, and it helped us focus on the "reason for the season" -the coming of the Light into the world. How can you go wrong with a day that starts with sweet rolls, a real treat!
There is more information about this feast here at SchoolOfTheSeasons.com, at the BBC and at Catholic.org. Penitents.org has some historical information as well as recipes, as does SicilianCulture.com. In Mama's Kitchen has a recipe for saffron buns.
by John Donne
'TIS the year's midnight, and it is the day's,
Lucy's, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks ;
The sun is spent, and now his flasks
Send forth light squibs, no constant rays ;
The world's whole sap is sunk ;
The general balm th' hydroptic earth hath drunk,
Whither, as to the bed's-feet, life is shrunk,
Dead and interr'd ; yet all these seem to laugh,
Compared with me, who am their epitaph.
Study me then, you who shall lovers be
At the next world, that is, at the next spring ;
For I am every dead thing,
In whom Love wrought new alchemy.
For his art did express
A quintessence even from nothingness,
From dull privations, and lean emptiness ;
He ruin'd me, and I am re-begot
Of absence, darkness, death—things which are not.
All others, from all things, draw all that's good,
Life, soul, form, spirit, whence they being have ;
I, by Love's limbec, am the grave
Of all, that's nothing. Oft a flood
Have we two wept, and so
Drown'd the whole world, us two ; oft did we grow,
To be two chaoses, when we did show
Care to aught else ; and often absences
Withdrew our souls, and made us carcasses.
But I am by her death—which word wrongs her—
Of the first nothing the elixir grown ;
Were I a man, that I were one
I needs must know ; I should prefer,
If I were any beast,
Some ends, some means ; yea plants, yea stones detest,
And love ; all, all some properties invest.
If I an ordinary nothing were,
As shadow, a light, and body must be here.
But I am none ; nor will my sun renew.
You lovers, for whose sake the lesser sun
At this time to the Goat is run
To fetch new lust, and give it you,
Enjoy your summer all,
Since she enjoys her long night's festival.
Let me prepare towards her, and let me call
This hour her vigil, and her eve, since this
Both the year's and the day's deep midnight is.
There is a short video here:
that shows scenes from her life in art and as represented by youth in tribute.
The painting above is by the Master of the Saint Lucy Legend, named after this altarpiece showing scenes from the saint's life life.