St. Lucia's Day, otherwise called The Festival of Lights, is celebrated on December 13, a week after St. Nikolaus' Day. It is celebrated in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Italy, Bosnia, Iceland, and Croatia. Before the reform of the Gregorian calendar in the 16th century, St. Lucy's Day fell on the winter solstice.
Lucia became the "Nikolaus of the women". In the early times, St. Nikolaus brought the gifts to the boys only, and St. Lucia visited girls with the gifts a week later. In some areas Lucia became the Christchild with the candle wreath on her head.
Lucia symbolizes light and growth for human and beast as she emerges out of the darkness. She is said to have been beheaded by the sword during the persecutions of Diocletian at Catania in Sicily. Her body was later brought to Constantinople and finally to Venice, where she rests now in the church of Santa Lucia. Because her name means "light", she very early became the great patron saint for the "light of the body"--the eyes. Many of the ancient light and fire customs of the Yuletide became associated with her day. Thus we find "Lucy candles" lighted in the homes and "Lucy fires" burned in the outdoors.