Christmas stories seen through children's eyes Christmas in the countries of Europe - Page 10

Saint Lucy's Day (Italian: Giorno di Santa Lucia) is celebrated as a Catholic holiday in Sicily and regions of Italy Northern on the supposed Shortest day of the year which is December 13. Saint Lucy is the patron saint of the of Syracuse better known city as Santa Lucia as she is called in the traditional Neapolitan song. Evening processions called the parade of light are conducted followed by the Feast of St. Lucy. Sicilians pay tribute to a miracle performed by St Lucy during a candlelight and are famine in 1582. At that time, she brought a flotilla of grain-bearing ships to starving Sicily, whose citizens cooked and ate the wheat without taking time to grind it into flour. Thus, on St. Lucy's Day, Sicilians do not eat anything made with wheat flour. Instead they eat cooked wheat called cuccia. Christmas is celebrated in Italy in a similar fashion to other Western European countries, with a strong emphasis given to the Christian meaning of the holiday and its celebration by the Catholic Church, also reinforced by the still widespread tradition of setting up the presepe, a tradition initiated by Saint Francis of Assisi. It is quite common to attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve and practice the custom not to eat any meat. The dinner traditionally consists of seafood, with the Feast of the Seven Fishes, followed by typical Italian Christmas sweets, such as pandoro, panettone, torrone, panforte, struffoli, caggionetti, Monte Bianco or others,