Today is the sacred day of Sankta Lucia, the Scandinavian Goddess of the Winter Solstice. Following the longest night of the year, She brings back the light of the sun, not only to illuminate the darkness, but to ensure human survival. Sankta Lucia's name means "Holy Light."
When Northern Europe was Christianized, the Goddess was transformed into a Saint, but Her Feast Day remained on the Winter Solstice and Her rituals continued unchanged.
However, when Renaissance Europe switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, several days were lost in the conversion process and Lucia's Feast Day ended up being on December 13, where it has remained ever since.
A Scandinavian daughter wearing the Crown of Light greets her family at dawn on the Winter Solstice and serves them the bounty of the Goddess -- coffee and special yellow saffron buns which represent the returning light.
All the images in this post are classic vintage representations of Sankta Lucia from the early 20th century . . .
. . . except for this photo. I simply had to include it! Isn't she the most darling little Sankta Lucia you've ever seen?
[All images from the internet]