St Lucy’s Day – Luca napja


Boszorkányos népi hiedelmek Magyarországon, de a skandináv országokban ma egész mást ünnepelnek.

St. Lucy’s day

The 13th of December celebrates the virgin St Lucia of Syracuse, who was martyred for her Christian faith in 304. Due to her purity she is associated with light, and her feast day is on the 13th of December because in the old calendar this used to be the longest night of the year.

St. Lucy is a very popular saint in the Scandinavian countries, where people feel the lack of sunlight more intensely, and on this day every town and village in Sweden chooses its own Lucia, who is driven around town, preferably in a horse-drawn vehicle, to spread light and song in food stores, factories, old-age homes and medical centres. St Lucia wears a white gown and ‘light in her hair’, which in practice means a crown of electric candles in a wreath on her head. Each year, a national Lucia is proclaimed, with candidates presented in the newspapers a couple of weeks in advance. This is also the day of the Nobel awards closing ceremony and the laureates are greeted by St. Lucy.

In Hungary, Luca-day is remembered as the day when witches are abroad (probably because this used to be the longest night of the year), so people had to protect themselves from evil. They ate garlic and even smeared some on their animals to keep evil spirits away, drew crosses on gates and spread some ash to stop them from entering homes. Brooms were also locked away so witches couldn’t go for a ride. Many superstitions are connected to this day: girls tried to foretell the future by cooking 12 dumplings, hiding a note with male name in each, and the first one to come up to the surface of the boiling water held the name of their future husband. The most well-known superstition is that of the Luca stool, which has to be carved starting today and finished by Christmas. The person who stood on the Luca stool during the midnight Mass was able to recognize the witches in the community.

virgin – szűz

to be martyred – mártírhalált halni

faith – hit

purity – tisztaság

lack of something – valaminek a hiánya

intensely – intenzíven, erősen

preferably – lehetőleg

horse-drawn – ló által vontatott

in practice – gyakorlatilag

wreath – koszorú

to proclaim – kihirdetni

candidate – jelölt
in advance – előre
laureate – díjazott
witch – boszorkány
evil – gonosz
to smear – bekenni
ash – hamu
superstition – babona
to foretell – jósolni
dumpling – gombóc, nokedli
surface – felszín
to carve – faragni
midnight Mass – éjféli mise


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