I’m getting a little tired of all these saints, especially the female ones who always seem to have taken a vow of virginity, like the girls with those current-day purity rings, which seem really creepy to me (putting your father in charge of your virginity?); who are so difficult to murder they often end up with their heads cut off; whose headless corpses are then dug up and cut up and transported all over the place; and whose body parts then not only don’t decompose but have some sort of angelic odor, whatever that is, about them.
I’ve written about so many saints because I like the way the dates of these grisly deaths are commemorated – the dates feel marked, set in place. St. Lucy’s Day, though, doesn’t mark the day she was surrounded with piles of wood and set on fire, but then didn’t die after all so they had to cut her head off with a sword. Instead they (and who they is, I have no idea) picked a day when the light starts to come back, because of the fire bit and also her name, from the Latin lucere. But when Pope Gregory got hold of the calendar and took out all those days, her date stopped meaning anything at all.
But you can pretend, Old-Style-Calendar-like, that today is the solstice, dress your youngest daughter up in white (and if she’s wearing a purity ring, so much the better), give her some candles, and if you’re lucky she’ll bring you some lussekatter (Lucy cat) pastries, though how the cats got in there I can’t tell you.