Today – 13 December – is St.Lucia Day. It’s a cosy, candle-lit morning in the dark of winter, where children parade through the neighbourhood – or their schoolyard – dressed in white robes and carrying candles while they sing St Lucia’s song, a Neapolitan folk song. Leading the parade is the girl chosen to be St Lucia, wearing a wreath of candles around her head.
Svart senker natten seg
i stall og stuer.
Solen har gått sin vei,
Inn i vårt mørke hus
stiger med tente lys
Sancta Lucia, Sancta Lucia
St. Lucia was a 3rd century Sicilian martyr whose death day was 13 December. Up here, the St Lucia celebration is a relatively new tradition, beginning in Sweden in 1927, then spreading to the other Nordic countries.
Today, most every primary and pre-school celebrates St Lucia. When dropping the little ones off in the morning, parents stop for a while to watch the local St Lucia procession and hear the kids sing. After the performance, everyone has coffee and lussekatter (St Lucia buns), a delicious saffron-coloured pastry.
Lussekatt-photo by hepp/flickr’s Creative Commons
As a bonus this wintry Monday morning, here’s the recipe for lussekatter:
- Melt 150 g butter and mix with 1/2 l milk, then dissolve 75 g yeast in the mix.
- Whip 2 eggs and 2 dl sugar. Add this to the liquid mix.
- Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1 g saffron and about 1 kg flour to the mix and knead well.
- Cover the dough with cloth and let it rise for about 30 minutes.
- Knead some more, divide into s-shaped buns, decorate with raisins and leave them on the baking sheet to rise (covered in cloth) for another half hour.
- Decorate with raisins, then “paint” the buns with a mix of eggs and a little salt.
- Bake at 225 degrees C for 5-10 minutes.
Happy baking! And singing!