Also while we visited Anna shared her wonderful Advent calendar and felted nativity.
Anna shared about how they celebrate the feast of St Lucy:The Italians express devotion to this saint in many forms not just in prayer.
"On the Feast of Saint Lucy these biscuits, formed in the shape of eyes, is a tradition in honour of this revered saint, the protector of eyesight.
The children especially young girls dressed as St. Lucy, (in Italy she is dressed in white but on her head she wears a crown of thorns with real candles dressed with holly as the red fruit resemble the blood of her martyrdom.)
Her arms hold a red scarf and is filled with the fried biscuits to go and feed the poor. (the village people) She knocks at each door and sings the hymn that reninds of Christ Light of THe World who is about to come.
She then distributes the biscuits and and kiss to the children of the home to remind them of the poor.
In the evening the villagers are not allowed any light to be on. The village in darkness begins the festival of light by "st. Lucy" coming to them singing (or chanting) Christ Has Come Into The World. The villagers respond with Christ Has Come Into The Wold Alleluia. and the Festival Of Light begins!
As she walks throughout the village street (we only had one street) she prays and chants the hymn, we respond and when she reaches the village church, the main prayer is said and the story od St. Lucy is told by one of the mothers, usually the mother of the girl who is St. Lucy that year. (after eacxh pray and response you will see candles bein lit & lights come on, so by the end of the evening prayer the whole villasge is bathed in beautiful LIGHT!
After the story there is time for reflection & Fr. usually will give examples via asking questions fior further reflection.
A final prayer is said, and as the villagers sign the hymns set out, everyone process after Fr. & St. Lucy to bless each home with New Light & Water!
The feasting begins when the last house is blest, with a great Alleluia - Amen the laughter & chatter take over and traditional food is then shared & of course commented upon!
In our home here we celebrate the Feast of Light eacxh year. We replecate the Feast in small scale. I gather all the candles I can and begin to prepare the lounge in the afternoon, sometimes we exceed 80 candles!!!!!!!! (we use small votive candles) Dinner is eaten at an early hour and the rest of time is for waiting for the evening to approach. We sometimes go the Blessed Sacrament to do this or, just quietly pray within our own rooms or our Jesus Garden etc.... When darkness hits, we gather in our lounge which is still in darkness and wait till st. Lucy comes to begin our Festival with prayer.
After the prayer we all process after Mark & St. Lucy to bless every room in our home.........then the celebrations begin!!
The "Occhi di Santa Lucia " (Eyes of Saint Lucy biscuits) and other traditional delicacies are served with the "martyrdom basket" secretly filled with St. Lucy lollies (eye shaped etc..) are passed around to the children each finding a sweet which will give them idication of what virtue St. Lucy wants them to practice:
Jelly Snake = Honesty
Licorice eyes = Prayer & acceptance
Gold Chocolate Coins = Humility
Red Lolly = Cheerful Obedience
and so on.
The evening ends with us singing Santa Lucia, in our now beautifully candle lit room Laughing & chattering about who will be St. Lucy next year! (I think Ben said he was hoping he could be!)"