Celebrating St. Lucy's Feast Day for Beginners

On St. Lucy day (also know as St. Lucia Day) is just around the corner on December 13! On this day, it's a big tradition for the oldest girl in the family to dress in a white garment with a red sash (symbolizing martyrdom) with a St. Lucy crown on her head. She wakes up early and brings her family members sweet rolls (or 'Lucia buns') to their bed. Traditionally, this would be saffron bread (find the recipe here) but other sweet breads can be substituted.

My daughter is only 4, so we staged her bringing some rolls upstairs to my 2 year old (pretending to be asleep in bed). Lydia wore her flower girl dress from a wedding last Summer, and I tied a red ribbon around her waist. It's traditional to wear a red sash, but we didn't have one.  

We all know I'm not a cook, so in place of the saffron bread, we made out-of-the-can cinnamon rolls. It seems that an "S" shape is traditional, so I re-shaped the cinnamon rolls. A lot of St. Lucy bread seems to be garnished with dried cranberries, dates, or almonds- I was going to use raisins, but we were out.

It is said that St. Lucy wore a wreath on her head with candles in it to light the way as she brought food to the poor. We made our St. Lucy crown from construction paper- I didn't want real fire on Lydia's head. Lol! I cut strips from green paper and taped them in a loop the size of her head. We taped on white rectangles for the candles, and I twisted pieces of yellow tissue paper for the "flames". I had some extra greenery leftover from our advent wreath craft, so I hot-glued some leaves on. We made the whole crown while our bread was baking.

It's also traditional to make your sweet bread in the shape of a braided wreath and put candles in it. Again, I braided straight-from-the-can cinnamon rolls and formed them into a circle.

After baking, I drizzled it with the icing and inserted white birthday candles. Yay for easy St. Lucy bread! (I made this wreath and the two sweet rolls all from just one can of cinnamon rolls.)

After lighting the candles, I wasn't sure what we were supposed to do. Since St. Lucy is the patroness of the blind, we said a prayer for St. Lucy to open the eyes of the spiritually blind. Then we sang "Happy St. Lucy Day to You..." and blew out the candles. This seemed like the logical thing to do to me! ;-)

More St. Lucy Resources:

Paper Dali has a free printable

I would love to have a children's book about this 
day, like Lucia, Saint of Light. I've read great 
Catholic reviews about this book!
Lucia, Saint of Light

This is such a great way to have fun with your kids and teach them about St. Lucy! We're going to make celebrating St. Lucy day an annual tradition at our home!

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  1. This looks like a yummy feast day celebration! I did a report on St. Lucia day when I was in elementary school yet, we've never actually celebrated the feast day at home. I do, however, have plans to this year since my youngest is a St. Lucy fan. My daughters both have American Girl's Kirsten doll and her St. Lucia outfit so I think I'll surprise them and dress their dolls for the 13th.

  2. What delightful pictures! Your little St Lucia is sooo cute!

  3. - I just added your link to your lovely blog to my new little blog!

  4. Love the head wreath tutorial. Cute photos of your St. Lucy sweetie! Wishing you a peaceful Advent!

  5. I remember celebrating St. Lucy Day in grade school. The simplicity of your celebration is wonderful! Thank you for sharing it :)

  6. the only occasion you'd dress your 4 year old in a white formal dress and give her sticky buns ... lol. so cute. such great ideas! thanks as always!

  7. I love your blog and ideas! Thanks for commenting on my post over at CMO!

  8. Lacy, this is an amazing post! I love pretty much everything about it and really want to borrow my niece and teach her all about St. Lucy (and who doesn't want sweets brought to them?).

  9. Visiting you from my blog -- Diary of a Sower. Great idea for a simple Lucia bread recipe! We have made the saffron buns in the past but didn't have time to do it today, so this will be a great alternative!

    Thank you for such a great blog and so many wonderful ideas.

  10. We are doing this today!!! Lacy you are the greatest!!!

    All you had to say was "from the can" and you had me!

    If I see the word "yeast" I pretty much think no way!

    I should have come and looked to refresh my memory, because with the 2 extra strips I just twisted them and doubled them up and added them to the ring!

    They are baking right now...we are slow on Mondays!!

    Thank you so much!

  11. Great suggestions! (Oh, and by the way, I LOVE your site...you give such excellent ideas!!!!) We have that book about Lucia and it's my FAVORITE. I've bought two others in the past, but IMO I think this one gives the best explanation for all the symbols surrounding Lucia Day yet presenting it in a nice "story" format to keep little ones interested AND with lovely illustrations! It also has a song (with accompaniment for piano), recipe and resources! I just purchased the book for this year and am very pleased!
    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  12. I have been going through Catholic cusines link up. I saw your comment on one of the post. Your little one is beautiful! You can see she loves this celebration. Blessings Catherine
    Here is our Sunshine enjoying it as well! http://catherineanne5.blogspot.com/2010/12/st-lucy-santa-lucia.html Blessings

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Thanks for your comments! They're the icing on my cake ;-)