Winter’s shortest day

Winter’s shortest day

Sweden is known for many interesting traditions and one of them is celebrating the day of Sankta Lucia. The legend talks about bringing light to the longest night of the year. And although the 13 th of December is a relatively short day it is not the shortest. All that confusion happened because our calendar has moved from the Julian to the Gregorian in the 17-hundreds. For some reason people have decided to keep the celebrations on the same date instead of moving it closer to Christmas. That way it can be an independent celebration.

In Sweden, the character of Lucia has most likely merged from two different legends. One of them was the martyr from Syracuse, the Saint Lucy. The myth tells of a young girl who sworn virginity and was helping the early Christians to hide from prosecution. At night she would deliver them food in caves where they hid. In order to be able to carry more she placed a candle on her head so she could see in the darkness. Here we have the elements of feasting and the bringing of light.

The second myth talks about Lussi, a female demon who would travel the world during the longest nights and hunt for misbehaving children. She would come through the chimney and take them away. If the preparations for Yule were not finished on time, she would punish everyone in the household. Her entourage was full of trolls and evil creatures.

What remains today is the procession of girls all dressed in white, led by one representing Lucia with a crown of electric candles and accompanied by boys dressed often as elves or gingerbread men. They sing the Lucia song while holding candles and sometimes giving away sweets. Generally, it is seen as a great honour to be selected as Lucia. There used to be even a pageant to select a national Lucia in Stockholm. Schools and regions today prefer to use a draw for selection rather than subject young girls to public scrutiny.

As it is tradition with all Swedish celebration, also on that day we have special baked goods to enjoy: saffron buns – lussekatter and ginger snaps – pepparkakor, accompanied by glögg. Here are some of our products that could help serve all those delicacies.

Floral Kashi Platter

Perfect for serving freshly baked saffron buns.

Burflower Coasters

Ideal to protect the surfaces from mugs filled with hot glögg.

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