Celebrating St Lucia’s Patron Saint on National Day
by Karen Rollins Nov 27, 2023
On 13 December, St Lucia will honour the feast day of its patron saint St Lucy of Syracuse who dedicated her life to Christianity from an early age and died a martyr at the age of 21 in 304 AD.
St Lucy’s journey to sainthood began when she turned down a marriage proposal from a wealthy pagan suitor. He took revenge by reporting Lucy to Paschasius, the governor of Syracuse.
Paschasius ordered Lucy to renounce her Christian faith and burn a sacrifice to the emperor’s image. She refused and was sentenced to be defiled in a brothel.
Guards came to take her away, but it’s reported that Lucy could not be moved, even when a team of oxen were hitched to her waist. Firewood was then placed around her feet, and attempts were made to light it, but it would not burn. Lucy was finally killed when a guard’s sword pierced her neck.
St Lucy’s amazing story spread throughout the Empire. She was venerated by the Roman Catholic Church and given a designated feast day on 13 December.
National Day in St Lucia is a public holiday, and citizens are encouraged to dress in the colours of the flag or wear madras.
In previous years, some planned events have included the ‘Festival of Lights and Renewal’ in Castries, lantern-making competitions, car racing in Vieux Fort, and firework displays.
The eve of National Day is also widely seen on the island as the official start of the Christmas season.