I just came to the realization that St. Lucia and Candlemas are two separate holidays. Duh! Of course, I would not readily be aware of the difference, as these are not family traditions. However, I likely should have known the difference. Like all other holidays clustered around the Winter Solstice, these two holidays focus on the theme of “light in the darkness.” Candles figure prominently in the holiday imagery, and both holidays are European in origin and appear in Waldorf-oriented resources. The similarities amongst the two holidays appear to end there, however. St. Lucia is a Swedish holiday commemorating the life and apparently gruesome death of St. Lucia. St. Lucia is presented as a beautiful and wealthy young girl who has a propensity for charitable acts. Her pious nature only increases when her mother becomes ill and she commits to living her life in chastity, if her mother is healed. The mother is healed and St. Lucia lives up to her vow. Unfortunately, a jealous man who can not tempt St. Lucia to break her vows has her killed. Her life is subsequently celebrated in Sweden with a theme song, local fare and children dressing as St. Lucia, female attendants and “star boys.”

Candlemas occurs on the same date as Ground Hog’s day and celebrates (depending on your spiritual stripe) a Celtic Goddess or the presentation of Jesus in the Temple. The day is generally heralded by adherents as the beginning of spring and candle creation is a fun activity enjoyed on the day.

Being somewhat caught off guard, I hurried to create a chaulkboard drawing to at least acknowledge St. Lucia Day. More to come!

St. Lucia Day (1)

St. Lucia Day (1)

St. Lucia Day (2)

St. Lucia Day (2)

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