Thursday, 13 December 2012

Happy St Lucy Day to all in Selling Festival Food and John Donne

St Lucy's day  Dec 13th "The eyes have it !"

Lucia ( Lucy) was a fourth century  noblewoman from Syracuse, Sicily who  denounced  the Roman  authorities as a Christian after refusing to marry her pagan suitor. Being a Christian in the 4th century were dangerous times .
 The  story bit
  In 304, being identified as a Christian meant that the authorities could rip your eyes out, then stab you in the throat -  which was the fate she suffered. Yuk!
Amongst other duties St Lucy is the Patroness of Salespeople. I guess her story teaches salespeople to be true to themselves. The first sale you make is to yourself. Believe in what you sell.
A prayer in her honour even mentions the word 'PROFIT '!
“Hear us, O God, our salvation, that, as we rejoice in keeping the festival of Blessed Lucy, thy virgin and martyr, so we may profit by the tender devotion we gain through her example. Through our Lord. Amen”
The Food bit. Cucuia porridge , St Lucy Buns, and St Lucy’s braided bread.
A hearty Breakfast for Salespeople
An additional history bit
In 1582, a terrible famine swept Sicily. In Syracuse, starving people prayed fervently to Santa Lucia ( St Lucy) for salvation and, lo, into the harbour did sail a boat laden with wheat. The story does not mention who the merchant( salesperson) who sold the wheat was.
 The starved populous were so desperate that they didn’t even wait to make bread, and instead boiled the wheat for immediate consumption. They thanked Santa Lucia ( St Lucy) as their saviour and, ever since, Sicilians have eaten a dish made of boiled wheat called cuccia on December 13th

Two Currants represent her eyes
Maybe for your mid morning snack ( ‘Elevenses’ in England) try a delicious St Lucy Bun.

Finally, for  supper those, those of you with elder daughters can be presented by her entering the room with a coronet of candles and a tray with St Lucy braided bread. This still is celebrated by Swedes and Norwegians who honour St Lucy so I am given to beleve.


by John Donne

John Donne was Dean of St Pauls in 1641
 the one before Wren's Cathedral
'TIS the year's midnight, and it is the day's,

Lucy's, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks ;

    The sun is spent, and now his flasks

    Send forth light squibs, no constant rays ;

            The world's whole sap is sunk ;

The general balm th' hydroptic earth hath drunk,

Whither, as to the bed's-feet, life is shrunk,

Dead and interr'd ; yet all these seem to laugh,

Compared with me, who am their epitaph.


Study me then, you who shall lovers be

At the next world, that is, at the next spring ;

    For I am every dead thing,

    In whom Love wrought new alchemy.

            For his art did express

A quintessence even from nothingness,

From dull privations, and lean emptiness ;

He ruin'd me, and I am re-begot

Of absence, darkness, death—things which are not.


All others, from all things, draw all that's good,

Life, soul, form, spirit, whence they being have ;

    I, by Love's limbec, am the grave

    Of all, that's nothing. Oft a flood

            Have we two wept, and so

Drown'd the whole world, us two ; oft did we grow,

To be two chaoses, when we did show

Care to aught else ; and often absences

Withdrew our souls, and made us carcasses.


But I am by her death—which word wrongs her—

Of the first nothing the elixir grown ;

    Were I a man, that I were one

    I needs must know ; I should prefer,

            If I were any beast,

Some ends, some means ; yea plants, yea stones detest,

And love ; all, all some properties invest.

If I an ordinary nothing were,

As shadow, a light, and body must be here.


But I am none ; nor will my sun renew.

You lovers, for whose sake the lesser sun

    At this time to the Goat is run

    To fetch new lust, and give it you,

            Enjoy your summer all,

Since she enjoys her long night's festival.

Let me prepare towards her, and let me call

This hour her vigil, and her eve, since this

Both the year's and the day's deep midnight is.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there,

    I LOVE the picture of the bread with the candles in it! Very nicely done!

    I thought I would ask your permission to use it in a lesson I'm writing -- it's online, but only students of the course will see it.

    Please let me know, if you would be so kind. You can email me at cedarblest AT hotmail DOT ca

    Thank you so much! :)

    Warm Regards,