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Idol Chatter

Each year on December 13th, Swedes celebrate the feast of Santa Lucia, a festival marked by candlelight (Lucia means light) at one of the darkest times of winter in this northern country. The day still finds young girls donning crowns of lit candles to represent the celebrated saint (a fire hazard waiting to happen, yes, but a nice tradition, at least in theory.)

While I am not partial to the dangers of setting fire to my hair or spending hours in the mirror trying to remove candle wax drippings from the same, the feast of Santa Lucia has a special place in my heart, and I will celebrate it this year in my own way. My mother, an Italian woman named Concetta Lucia (with an Italian accent you pronounce Lucia loo-chee-a–three syllables–as opposed to loo-sha or loo-see-a) liked this particular festival for obvious reasons: Lucia was her saint name.

My Italian interpretation of the festival of Santa Lucia, minus the candlelit crown: This year on December 13th, I will find every candle in the house–all the tea lights, whatever I can find–spread them all throughout the rooms, and spend the evening eating, talking, and reading in this romantic glow, remembering my mother and her patron saint. An excuse for an entire evening by candlelight for religious ritualistic purposes is not to be missed.

For more on Santa Lucia, see “Queen for a Day” in last Sunday’s New York Times.

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