Lights in the Dark.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Happy Feast of Lucia/ St. Lucy's Day/Lussinatta! I've always loved this brightly lit and mysterious saint's night, especially because of its interwoven indigenous roots...

I was raised with saints, and songs, and lighting candles in the dark. Every Christmastime, before dinner, we would go around the house turning the lights out while my mother would light the advent wreath. We'd return to huddle around her guitar in the dark so we could this song. I will never forget the way the eerie tune shimmered with the flame in the black, transforming our living room with thrown shadows. Shoulder to shoulder with my siblings, it was ancient and anticipatory and made the hairs of our arms stand up.

Tonight, in many nordic countries, girls will wear crowns of lit candles, there will be saffron buns, and songs, and if you dig WAY back into history, you can find more solstice-based Celtic/Germanic/Nordic traditions that still remain part of Lucia's night. Here is a warm up sketch I did in the studio today. Though she does not wear candles, I still named her Lussinata. Perhaps she predates Lucia, and is on her way to a bright Yule festival (Jól).

A peaceful and bright holiday to you, my friend!


Libby Koponen said...

I love this! I remember once giving a Santa Lucia party with a Swedish friend -- she wore the candles and taught us all to sing a (very cheerful) Santa Lucia song, in Swedish as she marched in. We had herring cooked all different ways, including home-pickled, and Janson's temptation, and singing....and of course, lighting candles and a fire. Magical! And one of the best
parties I've ever given.

I love the drawing. She is definitely on her way somewhere, that girl -- said...

Thanks for sharing that bright little memory, Libby. How magical! xx