Thursday, December 15, 2011


Discussing the weather in a shop yesterday - Sicilians talk about this subject almost as much as the British - I was reminded that it was "really" January, not December.  As we agreed it was a beautiful day, the assistant added , "for January" and quoted the dialect proverb,

"Ri santa Lucia a Natali 'u juorrnu crisci quantu 'n passu ri cani" - "From St Lucy's Day to Christmas each day is longer by a dog's step".

At least, that is the Modican version.  The spelling and vocabulary in the proverb may vary slightly from town to town but the meaning is the same - that the days get longer.  This proverb dates back to the sixteenth century and over the years people came to believe that each day between the feast of Santa Lucia and Christmas represents a month, with Christmas Day representing December. Thus you will realise that it is already February as I write!  The weather on each of these days, it is believed, allows us to predict what the weather will be like in the month the day represents, so a sunny 15th December means we are going to have a sunny February.

Santa Lucia by Domenico Beccafumi
Source:  Wikipedia

The following information is from an earlier post of mine:

Santa Lucia [283 - 304] was martyred in Siracusa during the Persecution of Diocletian. She is one of my favourite saints, along with St Martin and St Francis, because a feminist reading of her story would bring one to conclude that she was partially condemned for her unconventionality [though I suppose all saints were unconventional].

Lucia consecrated her virginity to God and expressed a wish to give all her worldly goods to the poor. She refused to marry a pagan, but her spurned fiancé had his revenge after Lucia and her mother, Eutychia [or Eutychiaea], visited Catania in the hope that the martyred Sant'Agata of that city would cure Eutychia of a haemorrage. Eutychia was cured and Lucia distributed some of her wealth to the poor, thus incurring the further wrath of her would-be husband, who denounced her to Paschasius, the Governor of Sicily.

First sentenced to become a prostitute, Lucia literally could not be moved, so then her persecutors unsuccessfully tried to burn her. Finally she was decapitated with a sword and the story goes that her eyes were gouged out first. One legend has it that only her eyes remained of her, but there is also a story that her body lay undisturbed in Sicily for 400 years. 

In art, Santa Lucia is often represented with her eyes on a plate and church-goers in Italy are given tiny pieces of pasta representing her eyes on 13th December.  Other symbols of Santa Lucia are the sword and the palm and she is the protector of electricians, eye specialists and the blind.  She is the patron saint of Siracusa.

Mario Lanza - Santa Lucia


Angus Dei said...

I wish it was July Welshcakes:)

LindyLouMac said...

A sunny February is just what I will need. At least we have already nearly reached the shortest day with out the weather being too bad.

Rosaria Williams said...

With Mario Lanza in the background, the mood is set, and the proverb has its full stage. Grazie tanto, Pat!
Buon Natale e Felice Capo d'Anno.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

You have only to wait till 20th December, Angus! Hi, LindyLouMac. That is a cheering thought. Hi, Rosaria. My pleasure and Buon Natale e buon anno to you.

Whispering Walls said...

RIP Santa Lucia

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Yes, indeed, WW.


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