For me Yule personally begins in another week, however if we look to the various holiday traditions from Krampus and Saint Nicholas, to today’s celebration of Saint Lucia Night, we see the pre-Christian remnants scattered across all of December. But I wanted to acknowledge Lussi on Her feast day today in Scandinavia.
Some scholars have posited that the Christianized Saint Lucia, may very well have pagan origins related to the figure of Lussi. We see Lussi who led her Wild-Hunt like horde called the Lussiferda. (Similar to other figures in the Northern Tradition: Perchta & the Perchten, which in turn probably connects to the similar Nicholas (most likely from Odinic origins) and the Krampus). On Lussinatta, folk traditions have Lussi coming down chimneys to steal misbehaving children.
The practice of Lussevaka – to stay awake through Lussinatt to guard oneself and the household against evil, not only fits symbolically well with a solstice celebration of longest night, but also brings to mind the description from Bede that Mother’s Night was observed for the entire night as well. While there’s a few different Christian origin stories for Lucia, or Saint Lucy, one of them has her bringing light to persecuted Christians hiding in the catacombs surrounded by the dead with nothing but a lit wreath to guide her. Symbolically, traversing the dark and realm of the dead with light, seems to fit with pre-Christian symbolism.
In modern times Saint Lucia’s Day is observed on December 13th, 12 days before Christmas. So, this very much syncs as a parallel to yule starting with Mother’s Night for the 12 days of the modern yuletide, even though the dates between modern pagan and Christian observances vary. Prior to the adoption of the modern Gregorian Calendar, her feast day in the Julian calendar fell on the Winter’s Solstice.
On a side note, the traditional depiction of Saint Lucia is of a woman clad in white. We know this is sacred iconography that is referenced time and again in Northern Tradition areas. We see this mentioned in Tacitus’ Germania that priest or priestesses wore white, we also see in the folk traditions mentioned by Grimm that women clad in white appeared at dawn for Ostara/Eostre.
Lussesang: a song for Lussinatta
While I don’t agree with the description saying this is for Freya (and thus assuming that Lussi is an aspect of Freya), the lyrics only mention Lussi and Alfrodul (an attested name for Sunna) and the words are perfect tonight. If you visit this on youtube, you can find the lyrics in Swedish and English if you expand the description.