Waiting for Christmas amidst legends and traditions

Today I want to tell you about three of them: the legend of the Christmas tree, the story of St Lucia and the story about the traditional Christmas stick.

The first one I want to tell you about is the Christmas tree. Traditionally, the Christmas tree is decorated on 8 December the day of the Immaculate Conception, although in some cities in Italy the day may vary, e.g. in the city of Bari the Christmas tree is decorated on 6 December on the occasion of St Nicholas. If you haven't prepared it yet, hurry up Christmas is near 🙂

There is a legend about the Christmas tree that I like a lot and which I will now tell you.

The Christmas tree legend

Legend has it that a long time ago, during a winter night, a boy was sent by his mother to cut some logs in the forest because they had run out of wood to burn and were freezing to death.

While walking in the woods, the boy tripped over a root and fell lying in the snow. Alone and without light, the young woodcutter tried to find his way home, but got lost in the forest. He wandered around in the darkness, then, exhausted, collapsed beside the trunk of a fir tree.

"Poor guy," he thought the fir tree "no one should have to suffer the cold in the woods". Thus, He bent his branches down to the ground and wrapped them around the trunk to protect the boy from the frost. In this way, Protected by the thick foliage of the fir tree, the young man managed to fall asleep and survive the frost. At sunrise, the boy's friends and mother went looking for him in the forest. They found him still asleep, wrapped in the branches of the fir tree.. The sunlight made the ice sparkle on the branches, which seemed to be covered in gold and diamonds. The boy, in gratitude for the tree that had saved his life, planted a small fir tree in his backyard and decorated it with garlands and festoons. Thus was born the custom of the Christmas tree.

The second story I tell you takes place on the night of 12-13 December, the feast of Saint Lucy. I am looking forward to this day because on Saint Lucia I receive my first Christmas gift. Now I will tell you the story of Saint Lucia as seen by us children as a day of gift-giving 🙂

The story of Saint Lucia

The story goes that for St Lucia's Day, the little ones would write a letter with a list of gifts they would like to receive, not before letting her know how good they had been over the past year. On the night of 12-13 December, Lucia distributed gifts to deserving children, carrying them on her donkey. The custom is to leave biscuits, vin santo and some straw before going to bed. (or yellow flour) in plain sight, to provide refreshment for her and her trusty donkey 🙂

The last little story I will tell you is about the classic red and white candy cane (its name is Candy Cane).

The Candy Cane Story

At Christmas you can find mint-flavoured candy canes in various markets and shops, they are white with red stripes and legend has it that these sticks are the invention of a confectioner who wanted to create a dessert that would remind everyone of Jesus.

In fact, the Christmas lollipop holds many meanings and the principal ones are:

  • The 'J' shape stands for Jesus (Jesus in English) and represents the shape of a shepherd's crook (Jesus is our shepherd comes from Psalm 23 of the Old Testament).
  • The colour white represents purity and the absence of sin and the large red stripes represent the blood of Christ shed for our sins.

I will post a few photos before saying goodbye.

Ciao, see you soon!