|via A Mountain Hearth|
Today is St. Lucia Day, which is mostly celebrated in Scandinavia and around the Italian peninsula. A girl - usually the oldest daughter in the family - dons a white dress, red sash and wreath with lights. She sings and brings cakes to the family.
The tradition is based from the 6th century Italian Saint Lucia (Lucy), who gave her dowry to the Christians, and would sneak food to them, wearing candles in a crown on her head so she could carry the food.
Very few saints are venerated in the Scandinavian countries, but St. Lucia took hold, probably because her day coincided with what was (before the current Gregorian calendar), the shortest day of the year. She represents the return of the light, both as the literal sun and the son of God.