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Updated: Apr 4

13th December is filled with curious ancient customs.  

In exactly twelve day, we will celebrate the birth of Jesus.

December 13th in Slovakia is dedicated to St. Lucia, and it comes amid rising excitement of the upcoming Christmas festivities, but also a deep sense of an ancient culture that our ancestors perpetuated until today.

Let's take a close look at how the day is honored in the Slovak folk culture.

St Lucia is referred to as the patron of virgins and sailors. She devoted her life and virginity to God at the time when being Christian was dangerous. But that did not sit well with her suitor. He had other plans with Lucia.

Angry, he reported the young woman to the authorities, sealing her fate. In Slovakia, her sacrifice is remembered on December 13th. The day is very much about girls and young women.

Young girls dressed all in white, with their faces dusted in flour, going from house to house carrying a bucket of dry lime with a brush or goose feathers, can still be seen across Slovakia today. They enter houses silently, sweeping corners with their feathers, and in doing so sweeping misfortune, illness and death away.

It doesn't end there.

Our believed that this was one of the special days of Advent when it was possible to peak into and even influence future. This is why farmers paid particular attention to weather to predict next year's harvest.

Girls would look for their beloved using a 12-pointed paper star – with enough corners to last until the arrival of Christmas. Each edge would have the name of a prospective husband inscribed on it, and every evening a random corner would be pulled off the star and thrown into the fire. The name that remained at the end revealed who the girl would marry.


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