Wednesday, December 14, 2011

the procession

This was the first year we celebrated St. Lucy's Day. The last few years, we kept meaning to find a church celebrating. We have even considered traveling to Sweden to visit my friend and celebrate St. Lucy's Day there. But this year, after felting the crown, we decided to do our own celebration. Yesterday, after I dropped Beezus off at school, I drove to the coffeeshop to pick up some beans, and Thor fell asleep, so I bought my sister and I some coffee and transferred Thor into her couch, and we sat and had a cuppa. Except I mentioned St. Lucy's Day and my sister offered to make her a robe from an old sheet. So, in a few minutes, we had a dress, and I invited my sister and her kids over to celebrate.

I had read about St. Lucy's Day in Sweden. The eldest daughter wears the crown of candles, a white dress, a red sash, and carries a tray of Lucia Pepparkakor and Lussekatt, or St. Lucia buns. I am a little embarrassed to admit that I have never made bread from yeast except in a bread machine. So, I thought what the hell, I am giving it a shot. I didn't make the Pepparkakor because it is a ginger snap and only I really like ginger snaps in my house. Here is the thing, I can't really eat wheat or gluten because I react in a way that in unlike Rheumatoid Arthritis. My joints swell. I can't bend over. I feel horrible. I followed the linked recipe above. I have to say there was something deeply soul-satisfying to cover the bread in a damp tea towel, and put it next to the woodstove, which is the only warm place in the house right now. Or sufficiently warm for bread.

In the meantime, I made Mexican Wedding Cookies, because all of our family likes them and mini-chocolate chip cookies, which turned out only fair to middling.

The Lussekatt turned out so very good. WOW. I might bake bread far more often then before, like maybe once a year, rather than never.

So, I baked the bread, made some cookies, made an outfit for Beezus. Now what? Yeah. I served dinner. Like I said, what I read about St. Lucy's Day is that the eldest daughter dresses like St. Lucy and wakes her family with Lussekatt and cookies. At night, there is a procession through town with the others dressed in white with cones on their head and holding candles, singing the Santa Lucia song. Well, we adapted it to two four year old girls, a six year old boy, a nine year old boy, a twenty month old and three adults who have not a lick of Swedish in them.

First, my sister dressed Beezus like St. Lucy, while I prepared the candles for the children.

Funnily, my niece Audrey-girl wore a little dress with red wings and said she was the Red Cardinal of Winter which followed St. Lucy around. I thought that was so gorgeous. I love the way children think, and she is a particularly fancy thinker.

Then, I gathered the children. We turned off all the lights in the house besides the Christmas tree and surrounding lights. And one by one, we lit the candles as they stood in line. Audrey-girl refused to light a candle because birds are afraid of fire. (She really is the best.) I told them that this marks the darkest time of the year, so St. Lucy brings the light to the world.

Then we decided on some Christmas songs, of which none of us knew all the words. It was awesome. And we had a procession through the house and then the yard. All of us. In the dark and cold. It was so much fun.

This is a very weird picture because I tried the outside at night setting on my camera, which apparently sucks.

After our procession, the kids ate cookies and we ate the Lussekatt and drank coffee. Here is one more picture of my girl and I in the cold. Happy St. Lucia Day!


Sara said...

Love this—did I say that yesterday?

Mary Beth said...

SO AWESOME! I have always loved the idea of St. Lucia Day. When I was teaching we did a big holidays-around-the-world unit, and this one was always my favorite. In fact, after lunch we'd often have surprise guests pop in, like St. Nicholas from the Netherlands and St. Lucia from Sweden. I'm so glad you've incorporated this into your winter celebrations. Looks like such a great time.

TracyOC said...

I love this so much. I think you've achieved some sort of blogging/crafting/grieving/celebrating singularity. Best to you and the whole fam.

HereWeGoAJen said...

Oh, I love this. And the Red Cardinal of Winter is awesome. We are totally doing this next year.

loribeth said...

This 1/4 Swede thinks it's fabulous that you're celebrating St. Lucia Day. : )