The 13th December is a very important date in the Swedish Christmas calendar! It celebrates the patron saint of light, St Lucia. It is also known as the festival of light, and is celebrated to the full with songs, processions and sweet treats!
The eldest daughter in the family will wake up before dawn and wear a traditional white dress and red sash. St Lucia was said to have ‘light in her hair’ and this is represented by a leafy crown with lit candles. In the more recent times the real fire has been replaced by safer battery powered alternatives! The eldest daughter will then hand out coffee and ‘Lussekatter’ – ‘S’ shaped buns made with saffron. Check out this recipe to make your own yummy lussekatter!
When everyone is up, they can all begin the day’s celebrations. It isn’t just the eldest daughter who gets to dress up. The younger girls dress as ‘handmaidens’ with a candle each, and boys can dress as ‘star boys’ wearing cone hats and carrying stars on sticks. They lead a procession around town and often stop to visit old people’s homes and sing songs.
Everyone joins in the festivities, sing songs and as the evening draws in, the towns and villages are lit up with a warm candlelit glow. The chilly weather means time to enjoy a cup of hot glögg and a ginger biscuit or two. Happy St Lucia’s Day!