This is a week with festivities galore in Sweden. Today, December 10, is the day of the Nobel Banquet in the Stocholm City Hall. December 13 will bring Lucia celebrations: the Swedish celebration of light, set on what was, at one time, considered to be the shortest day of the year. As much as I would love to believe that we’re now moving to longer days of sunlight, the celebration — experienced here in the north — is truly a day of magic and helps make us forget that we still have a little wait.
Homes, pre-schools, bakeries, offices and churches are filled with gatherings and traditions steeped into the day. School kids have been preparing the iconic Lucia songs for weeks; professional choirs and rag rag pre-schools with all share their musical productions in Lucia Tågs (Lucia Trains) and you will find flutterings of kids in strollers, bakeries and streets traveling in the traditional Lucia Gowns, Star Boys alongside modern, Ginger Bread Kids and Elves, now abundantly in the mix, too; after a day of festivities and singing in Lucia trains, rewarded at the end with Lusse Katt (Swedish Saffron Buns) and parents snapping photos.
The pared-down Lucia essentials are:
- White gowns with red ribbon sashes
- Lucia crowns
- Lussekatt (Saffron Buns
I’ve rounded up several willowday posts and those of several contributors to The Creative Christmas Countdown Calendar in one tidy place so that you will have all that you need to bring the celebration to you.
Lucia Buns (Lussekatt) are the essential baked good for this holiday. In many homes, small children still dress up in the traditional Lucia costumes and wake their parents in bed with their candle light and these buns. Well, OK… with the help of a parent, I’d guess; but, in earlier generations the tradition was for the kids to stay up all night baking these buns themselves, putting on their costumes at 5 AM and then walking in a “Lucia Processional” (Lucia Tåg), singing and carrying these buns, to wake up their parents up in bed.
The tradition of the all night baking was called Lussevaka which translates: “Lucia awake.” I was recently thrilled to meet a mother who shared that in the little town that she grew up, she did this and more: After the night of baking and waking their own parents, the kids would continue is their “Lucia Train” in to the neighbours, doing the same! She said that not only did the kids get to stay up all night baking, wearing their costumes but that everyone in the community wore their best pyjamas that night, too! It’s such a fun image to have for this very dark time of the year. Festivity is welcome!
Lussekatt (saffron Lucia Buns) are quintessential Lucia Fare but, maybe you’d like a playful twist?