The day of Saint Lucia is an essential part of a Scandinavian Christmas. Each year on December 13, Saint Lucia is celebrated widely with candlelight in the home and traditional candle-lit processions at church. Lucia herself was Christian martyr, recognized for secretly providing food to persecuted Christians.
Today, the eldest girl in the family portrays Saint Lucia. She puts on a white robe in the morning and wears a crown full of candles, often times made of Lingonberry branches. She serves her parents, and family, Lucia buns and coffee or mulled wine.
The night of Saint Lucia was known to be the longest night of the year (winter solstice), which was changed when the Gregorian calendar was reformed. During a long winter in Scandinavia, the idea of light overcoming darkness, and the promise of returning sunlight has been welcomed by the locals for hundreds of years. The celebrations and processions on Saint Lucia Day are illuminated by thousands of candles.
Celebrating Saint Lucia day has been a family tradition for a very long time! As far back as I can remember, my Grandma would wake up early to serve breakfast at the Scandinavian smörgåsbord held at church. She always wore her traditional Swedish attire, to make the day even more festive!
Because my Grandma looked forward to this day so much every year, I wanted to try my hand at making Lussekatter, or Lucia buns. I followed THIS recipe (and highly recommend). These golden rolls taste rich, from the essence of saffron, but also sweet, from the golden raisins. Serve them warm with a touch of butter and jam!
As many would say, including my Grandma, it just wouldn't be Christmas without Saint Lucia Day!