Mother’s Grain

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The Feast of Santa Lucia is celebrated on December 13, which until 1582 when the Gregorian calendar was instated, was the winter solstice. To celebrate the saint, who is the Christian translation of the Greek goddess Demeter, goddess of grain, agriculture, and fertility, Sicilians eat cuccìa, a pudding made of farro (barley), milk (in this case ricotta), and sweetened with honey or sugar. The ancient dish is a reference not only to the famine that prayers to Santa Lucia helped solve in medieval times, but also to the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth that the mother goddess (i.e. Demeter) oversaw, and that is celebrated on the winter solstice.

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