On December 13 we celebrate Saint Lucia in Sweden. Saint Lucia’s Day is one of the few Swedish celebrations that is linked to a saint.
According to historians, in the good old days, Dec 13 was the day we slaughtered our pig for Christmas. And therefore this was a day to celebrate as there were extra food. (Think food supply in Sweden in December before time of central heating!) These days most of us buy all food for Christmas at grocery stores but I must say it is nice to see that the interest for homemade and home cooking has increased the last years and more and more people are making their own traditional Christmas sausages and pates. I remember my grandmother and her sisters did that when I was a small child!
Anyway, Lucia brings the light to the dark Sweden. Yes, Sweden is so far north so very little, if any, daylight this time of the year. (I’m from the south so we get some daylight). Traditional there is a Lucia, and she has candles in her hair and she is accompanied by a procession of maidens and star-boys. They sing traditional songs, we have both Christmas songs and special Lucia songs, and they come early in the morning with coffee and sweet saffron buns and ginger snaps. These days many churches have special Lucia procession in the evening. It is really a nice celebration! If ever in Sweden on Dec 13 ensure you take the time to attend one. Sometimes it is done on Dec 12 and some the Sunday before Dec 13 so always good to check!
Therefore last weekend I made the sweet saffron buns. We call them lussekatter – Lucia’s cats or some say it means Lucifer’s cats! Historians say that we believed the devil came in the shape of cats so we made these with saffron to scare the devil away. Have no idea if that is true or not! The myths I mean! Anyway it is fun to read old stories and learn about our old beliefs and where our traditions come from.
I will honestly admit mine didn’t turn out as good as I hoped. My oven here burns from the bottom so they got hard and burned at the bottom and very little color on top! But they tasted pretty ok. Not as good as those my friend brought me so for those in Sweden who wants a great recipe these were the best I ever tasted, Monika Ahlberg from Allt om Mat. I am very happy my friend introduced this recipe to me; these will be the ones I do in the future! My friend’s tip is to use a mixer to successfully mix the two doughs smoothly together.
I for sure will enjoy a saffron bun and some glögg!