syria, light, aleppo, oil, moesgaard museum, de etnografiske samlinger, ethnography, collections, museum, aarhus, denmark

Santa Lucia special: Syrian oil lamp

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Middle East

Yesterday it was Saint Lucy’s Day or, as it is known in Denmark Santa Lucia. All over the country, children dressed up in white robes and sang as they walked the halls of schools, kindergartens, after-school centres, and hospitals, candles in hand. At the head of these processions walked the ‘Lucia Bride’, with a candle-lit wreath of her head, leading the way. This is in memory of Saint Lucy, who, according to legend, brought food to her fellow Christians hiding from prosecution in the catacombs of Rome. In order to carry as much as possible, she placed candles in a wreath on her head; an image, which is reflected in the Lucia processions of Scandinavia today.

Today many people in Denmark mainly associate the Lucia processions with the bringing of light to the winter darkness, and the knowledge that soon we will be heading towards lighter, brighter days. The object, which this blog post is about, is in many ways quite unremarkable; a clay oil lamp, collected in Syria in 1965. But here is to hoping that there are lighter, brighter days ahead for the homeland of this little lamp. That dark as it may seem now, the world will finally open its eyes to the darkness that has befallen the people of Syria. And that we will remember the true meaning of Saint Lucy’s Day: to come to the aid of those in need, those tormented by forces so much stronger than themselves, and to bring light, aid, and help to those forced to live in the darkness.

//Sophie Seebach

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