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December 13th - Santa Lucia Day
Submitted by Pam on Sat, 12/13/2008 - 17:06
The Legend of Santa Lucia is celebrated on December 13th in Sweden. Lucia (meaning light) was born in the third century in the village of Syracuse, on the island of Sicily. She devoted her life to helping the poor and her legend lives on in both Italy and in Sweden.
In Sweden, on the morning of Santa Lucia Day, a family's eldest daughter serves her parents a breakfast of special saffron bread called Lussekatter and ginger cookies called Luciapepparkakor.
My own celebration includes making Luciapepparkakor. Here are several recipes for Swedish cookies - these are enjoyed by Swedish Americans carrying on the traditions of Santa Lucia Day. And as a nod to Italy's celebration of her day, I make Biscotti and Italian Wine Cookies. In the 1950's, Norway adopted the celebration of Santa Lucia, so I also make these Norwegian Christmas Cookies.
Even though it isn't a Swedish or Italian dish, I usually serve cheese fondue for Santa Lucia dinner! It is so easy to prepare and very festive. Dipping cubes of bread into a pool of cheese melted in wine makes for a leisurely meal, best shared with a couple friends or family members. I light a LOT of candles and decorate the table with my Swedish woven table runners, straw goats and wheat snowflakes.
I also make time on this day to decorate with my wheat ornaments by hanging them from a round wooden wreath.
And I fill my woven paper heart baskets with goodies and hang them on the tree. (That tree is getting pretty crowded by now!)
I hope you are planning to do something special to celebrate today! Happy Santa Lucia Day to all.