It was commonly believed in Scandinavia as late as the end of the 19th century that this was the longest night of the year, coinciding with Winter Solstice. The same can be seen in the poem “A Nocturnal upon S. Lucy’s Day, Being the Shortest Day” by the English poet John Donne.
While this does not hold for our current Gregorian calendar, a discrepancy of 8 days would have been the case in the Julian calendar during the 14th century, resulting in Winter solstice falling on December 13. With the original adoption of the Gregorian calendar in the 16th century the discrepancy was 10 days and had increased to 11 days in the 18th century when Scandinavia adopted the new calendar, with Winter solstice falling on December 9.
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Holidays and observances
- Acadian Remembrance Day (Acadians)
- Christian Feast Day:
- Republic Day (Malta)
- Saint Lucy’s Day (mainly Scandinavia, some regions of Italy (for example, Sicily, Veneto and Trentino), and Malta), and its related observances:
- Tellus was worshipped in the district Carinae at the Esquiline Hill, and a lectisternium or table was spread for Ceres. (Roman Empire)
It is said that she consorted with the Devil and that her children were invisible infernals. Thus the name may be associated with both lux (light) and Lucifer (Satan), and its origins are difficult to determine. The present custom appears to be a blend of traditions.