Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Santa Lucia Day

Santa Lucia (St. Lucy) was a young Italian girl who was martyred for her faith in 304 AD. During Advent in Sweden, one of the biggest celebrations is Santa Lucia's Day originating from the stories told by the holy Monks who first brought Christianity to Sweden. Traditionally ‘Lussekatter’, St. Lucia's Day Buns flavored with saffron and dotted with raisins, are served by a girl dressed in a white dress with a red sash around her waist and a crown of candles on her head.

As I mentioned over on Instagram, I wasn't able to make our annual Saint Lucia Braided Bread, a festive bread inspired by the candle-covered crown she is said to have worn to light her way as she brought food to the persecuted Christians hiding in the catacombs, last night or early this morning. It's the first time in ten years (look at the girls back in 2008!) that I haven't and I was feeling awful about it. Our children are all so great though... We woke up this morning to our twelve year old, who celebrates a nameday today, in the kitchen baking traditional Lussekatter (Lucia Buns) completely on her own! I’ve always wanted to make them and never have. She did an amazing job!

We may not have been able to light the candles on a Saint Lucia Braided Bread crown this year, but we did light real candles on the crown our daughter wore as she passed out the Lussekatter! 

It was beautiful!

Santa Lucia

Night walks with a heavy step round yard and hearth,
As the sun departs from earth, shadows are brooding. 
There in our dark house, walking with lit candles,
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia! 

(Every year we give our daughter a little nameday gift to celebrate this special feast of one of her patron saints. This year it was a Santa Lucia Mug!)

"Early in the morning of December 13th, the oldest daughter in the family in Sweden has the privilege of being the Lucia, wearing a long white gown sashed in red, with a wreath of lingonberry leaves on her hair. Candles - now usually run on batteries - are set into the wreath. Her sisters wear white gowns with tinsel in their hair and around their waists. Boys in the family wear tall pointed hats with stars on them. The "Starboys" traditionally are associated with the three wise men. The children awaken their parents and offer them coffee, saffron-flavored buns called Lussekatter and ginger snaps, called pepparkakor." - Lucia Morning in Sweden

Lussekatter recipe from Lucia Morning in Sweden

Santa Lucia, ora pro nobis!