“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” Robert Heinlein.
December 13th is the Feast Day of St Lucy
. St Lucy was a virgin martyr who lived in the 4th century in Syracuse, Sicily. She was martyred by having her eyes taken out and these are often depicted in her images on a platter that she carries. Her name, Lucia, means light and she is the patron saint of oculists and optometrists. She is invoked against all eye diseases. In Sweden, St Lucia’s day is celebrated with special brilliance. As her name suggests, the Swedes celebrate her day with numerous lights, especially candles that are thought to dispel the dismal Northern winter darkness. The eldest daughter of each family dressed in a long white dress and crowned with a garland fashioned of pine boughs on which are balanced lit candles brings coffee to her parents in bed. The whole family then go down to a special breakfast feast served in a brightly lit room. The daughter is given the place of honour.
In Iceland, this day marks the beginning of the visits of the Yuletide Lads. These are 13 impish creatures that are bent on making mischief, one each day until Christmas Eve. Their individual names suggest the pranks they get up to: “Pot Scraper”, “Window Peeper” and “Sausage Sniffer”. In Icelandic mythology they were sons of Gryla the ogre and they started out as being horrible cannibals. As they became absorbed into the Christian tradition they became rather more benign and are considered to be mere pranksters and friends of children to whom they bring presents. The Yuletide Lads are reminiscent of the Greek folk tradition of the Christmas Imps, the kallikantzaroi, who cause similar havoc around home around Christmastime.
Seeing that today is also Heinrich Heine’s
(the great German poet’s) birthday, here is a poem of his: New Spring (1)
Sitting underneath white branches
Far you hear winds are wailing;
Overhead you see the cloudbanks
Wrap themselves in misty veiling,
See how on bare field and forest
Cold and barren death is seizing;
Winter’s round you, winter’s in you,
And your very heart is freezing.
Suddenly white flakes come falling
Down on you; and vexed and soured
You suppose some tree has shaken
Over you a snowy shower.
But it is no snow that’s fallen,
Soon you see with joyful start –
Look, it’s fragrant almond blossoms
Come to ease and tease your heart.
What a thrilling piece of magic!
Winter’s turned to May for you,
Snow’s transmuted into blossoms,
And your heart’s in love anew. Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)
The word of the day is:lucid
1 expressed clearly; easy to understand: A lucid account | Write in a clear and lucid style.
• showing ability to think clearly, esp. in the intervals between periods of confusion or insanity : he has a few lucid moments every now and then.
• Psychology (of a dream) experienced with the dreamer feeling awake, aware of dreaming, and able to control events consciously.
2 poetic/literary bright or luminous : birds dipped their wings in the lucid flow of air.
lucidity |loōˈsidətē| |luˈsɪdədi| |-ˈsɪdɪti| noun
lucidly |ˈlusədli| adverb
lucidness |ˈlusədnəs| noun
ORIGIN: late 16th cent. (sense 2) : from Latin lucidus (perhaps via French lucide or Italian lucido), from lucere ‘shine,’ from lux, luc- ‘light.’
And related to this as far as etymology is concerned:Lucifer
1 another name for Satan. [ORIGIN: by association with the [son of the morning] (Isa. 14:12), believed by Christian interpreters to be a reference to Satan.]
2 poetic/literary the planet Venus when it rises in the morning.
3 (lucifer) archaic a match struck by rubbing it on a rough surface.
ORIGIN Old English , from Latin, ‘light-bringing, morning star,’ from lux, luc- ‘light’ + -fer ‘bearing.’