St Lucia’s National Day
by Karen Rollins Dec 3, 2018
On Thursday 13th December St Lucia will celebrate National Day.
National Day marks the feast day for St Lucy of Syracuse, the island’s patron saint.
St Lucy is said to have dedicated her life to Christianity from an early age and died as a martyr at the age of 21 in 304 AD.
Lucy’s journey to martyrdom began when she turned down a marriage proposal from a wealthy pagan suitor. He was so angry at the rejection that he reported Lucy to the governor of Syracuse, Paschasius.
Paschasius ordered Lucy to renounce her Christian faith and burn a sacrifice to the emperor’s image, when she refused, she was sentenced to be defiled in a brothel.
It’s then claimed that when guards came to take her away, Lucy couldn’t be moved, even when they hitched her to a team of oxen. Firewood was placed around her feet and set on fire, but it wouldn’t burn. Finally, she was killed when a guard’s sword pierced her neck.
St Lucy’s story spread throughout the Empire. She was venerated by the Roman Catholic Church and given a designated feast day on 13th December.
National Day in St Lucia is a public holiday with several religious, cultural, social and sporting activities taking place. Some of the planned events include the Festival of Lights and Renewal in Castries, car racing in Vieux Fort, lantern-making competitions and firework displays.
The eve of National Day is also widely recognised on the island as the official start of the Christmas season.