Santa Lucia, aka St. Lucy, was a 3rd century Roman martyr. She is the patron of eyesight, because she supposedly plucked eyes out to give to a suitor who would not leave her alone. She is also the saint associated with Swedish girls wearing candles on their heads.
Lucy’s feast day, December 13, which was the Winter Solstice before the Renaissance era change to the Gregorian calendar. Her name means “light”, and so Santa Lucia is the saint of the Winter Solstice–the guide out of that dark teatime of the soul, the shortest day of the year when it is is easy to sink into despair. Upon her feast day (or, now, soon after her feast day), light begins to return–life begins anew in the northern hemisphere.
The fish is a lantern fish. Lantern fish bio-luminesce—they make light in darkness. They are also a large percentage of the biomass in the oceans–as food, they nourish much of the oceanic food chain. The eyes in the pot of wheat shoots reference her association with eyesight. The wheat itself comes from a Hungarian tradition planting wheat seeds on Saint Lucy’s Day. By Christmas, the seeds will have sprouted.
The three small rectangles refer to Lucy’s martyrdom. According to the stories, she was immovable when oxen were supposed to drag her to her execution. Though she was unscathed when tied to the stake to be burnt, she then perished when a dagger was plunged in her neck.