Today is 13th December – and did you know that it is a special day for opticians and all things eye related? It is St Lucy’s Day or  St Lucia’s  Day – St Lucia is a Christian Saint who is the patron saint of eyes and virgins. The British Optical Association has a painting of her with her eyes on a plate.

Saint Lucia
Style of Agostino Ciampelli
possibly 18th c

This is because like most of the Christian saints her story is quite grisly. She was martyred in Syracuse in Italy in 304 AD. Her mother tried to marry her off to a wealthy man but she refused and took a vow of chastity. The story of her eyes was said to have emerged later, and some say she gouged out her own eyes because her suitor admired them and she refused to marry  him. Other versions say that she had them gouged out as a torture. Nevertheless, she became well known in medieval times. Her name means ‘light’ in Latin.

This association of St Lucia with light is a strong one;  the 13th December was traditionally the darkest and shortest day (before the calendars were changed) and she was celebrated on this day in a festival of light. In modern Sweden St Lucia is still celebrated in a charming but rather dangerous fashion. Young girls dress in white and serve coffee and cakes to their families (that’s not the dodgy bit!) the tricky bit is that they decorate their hair with a wreath topped off with lighted candles. They also sing in a procession and carry saffron buns to welcome in the light of Christ. This sounds a very risky business, especially for those without cast iron core muscles, so I stick to the old adage of “don’t try this at home!”

We are pleased to say that now lock down 2 is over, we can see customers again in our showroom. We have had a few customers visit us this week which is good. If you would like to come  and visit us at Dead Men’s Spex to peruse our selection of frames, pleases let us know. We have plenty of glasses to choose from and a good supply of hand sanitiser and Christmas cheer of course!

I’m off to light a candle to St Lucia and promise to avoid Dead Man’s beard – he needs that at its best for his Santa impression!

Have a good week

The Dead Man Team