Saint Lucy’s Day in Hungary, the time of awaiting Christmas – and of witches
Saint Lucy’s Day, also called the Feast of Saint Lucy, is a Christian feast day celebrated on 13 December in Advent, commemorating Saint Lucy, a 3rd century martyr. Many folk customs are connected to this day, probably because before the Gregorian calendar was introduced this day was the winter solstice (which is now the 21st or 22nd of December). Magyarorszagom.hu collected the traditions of this day.
Since Saint Lucy’s Day used to be the shortest day, and also the longest night of the year, it was connected to dark and sinister forces. There are more days in the Hungarian calendar to which similar traditions are connected. There are two Lucys in the common knowledge of Hungarians: a “good” one, and a “bad” one, a witch. The beliefs are most commonly connected to the latter.
Saint Lucy’s Day in Hungary
According to the folk tradition, on this day witches and other persons of magical forces appear, from whom people must hide away. Animals are not safe either, so their heads are rubbed with garlic on this day and a cross is painted on the doors of kennels, hen-houses and pigsties. People eat bread with garlic, to dispel the wicked with the smell. They also sprinkle tobacco in front of their houses and hide their brooms so that witches cannot fly away on them.
Making the Luca chair is among the most widely known traditions connected to this day. They start crafting it on the 13th of December but can only finish by Christmas. On the Christmas church reception if one stood on the chair, they saw the witches.
Boys and girls
The girls cook 12 dumpling, with small pieces of paper in them, containing 12 boy names. The first dumpling to come to the surface of the water contains the name of their future husband’s name.
Halloween pumpkin or Luca pumpkin?
In Hungary, especially in Transdanubia, it was a widely spread custom to carve a so-called Luca pumpkin. On Saint Lucy’s day, people carved two eyes, a smiling mouth and a nose for the pumpkin. Afterwards they placed the pumpkins in the windows to scare each other. At night, they lighted candles inside them to make them more spectacular.
Predictions of the folk
According to the Luca calendar, the weather on 13th December, on Saint Lucy’s day predicts the weather of January. The following day represented February, and so on. Every day refers to the next month, and Christmas day refers to next December.
In this article, we collected even more predictions connected to this day, and many more.