December 13 is the Feast Day of Saint Lucy, who, according to legend brought food and aid to Christians hiding in the catacombs. She used a candle-lit wreath to light her way, leaving her hands free to carry as much food as possible. Thus the tradition of grils wearing a candle wreath.
Her feast once coincided with the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year as evidenced by the poem by John Donne (22 January 1572 – 31 March 1631) “A Nocturnal upon S. Lucy’s Day, Being the Shortest Day.”
The holiday, a celebration of light, is mainly celebrated in Scandinavia where the residents are eagerly anticipating the end of the long winter nights. However it is also celebrated in parts of Italy, where she was born and was martyred. She is patron saint of Syracuse.