So how did Protestant (at most, Atheist in closer reality) Sweden get obsessed with an Italian Catholic saint? I don’t know the history, but I’m sure it’s related to the closeness between Lucia and the Swedish for light: ljus, making it a perfect excuse to celebrate light in the darkest time of the year.
Either way, it’s a set of traditions that is almost impossible to escape. Everywhere are groups of white-clad, singing young women with candles. Everywhere you go, you are force-fed lusekätter: saffron buns shaped like cats tails. By the end of Friday, I was quite lightheaded from Saffron overdose, having had them pushed on me:
Lussebullar Recipe. Note that 1) if you’re doing individual buns, about 90g of dough is fine, and you want to bake for about 10mins at 210C 2) Yeast is fresh yeast, which comes in 50g blocks in Sweden 3) Grahams Flour is wholemeal bread flour, for extra olde-worlde texture
Compulsory Lussebullar (and coffee, but that goes without saying) being served at reception, Friday 12th December.
Freshly baked lussekätter
In addition, processional choirs of young women with candles are prevalent. I had one in reception at the office, and Lucy (revelling in the day as you can imagine) had one at SFI. And there was an internal school one before classes on Friday – apparently to be repeated for parents next Friday
You even get them in Shopping Centres:
And almost every window in the city has an arch of lights shining out. All we need now is some snow for them to glitter off. Continue reading St Lucy’s Day→
Semlor are delicious almond and whipped cream buns, officially as a Shrove Tuesday treat, but generally eaten in January and February. Every cake shop and supermarket (and petrol station) has them on sale.