A Swedish Christmas Tradition lights up the holidays in winters that are very dark indeed.
December 13th at dawn:
“Filip, get up!”
“Elsa, it’s too early, School’s not for hours.”
“There’s no school, silly. I’ve brought you
rolls and coffee.”
“Oh, I forgot. I forgot it was St Lucia’s day. Umm! Yummy. Who lit the candles on your crown?”
“I did, I told Mum I would be very careful.”
“You’re leading the parade today aren’t you, Elsa”
“That’s right, Filip. It was an honor to be the girl who was voted on. It will be great fun. Get up now, and don’t go back to sleep.”
The Lucia parade commemorates a young Sicilian girl, who was martyred for her faith. Elsa will wear a white gown and carry a candle. There will be a parade complete with caroling. How Lucia, a Sicilian, became popular in Sweden is a mystery. Legend has it that she appeared in a glow of light, bringing food during the midst of a famine. The name Lucia means light.
A couple of days before Christmas Eve, Julafton, according to Swedish Christmas tradition, the Swedish family will decorate their Julgran Christmas tree.
On Christmas Eve there is a large, wonderful feast that lasts for hours. Entrées such as ham, a goose, Lutfish, and rice porridge are a few of the traditional dishes. If you are the lucky finder of the almond in your rice porridge, it means that you will be married within a year.
After the lengthy feast, the tree is lit, a bit of porridge is set out, and while everyone sleeps………Tomte or Jultomtem comes, which one depends on your own family Christmas traditions. Tomte is a small gnome who lives under the floor and looks after the family and animals during the year. Jultomtem is a tiny gnome who comes in a sleigh drawn by a goat.
Christmas morning is filled with early morning church services, visiting, and gift giving. An interesting custom is a secret gift giving called Julkapp. The gift is wrapped in perhaps a dozen layers of paper and quickly thrown into a family’s home after the giver knocks at the door.
.A Swedish Christmas ends on Jan.13th, St. Knut’s Day. St. Knut was known as a generous man and king. He ruled as king from 1080 to 1086.
Swedish Christmas Tradition
Swedish Rolls (Kanelbullar)
2 tsp.dry yeast or a comparable amount of fresh yeast dissolved into 1/2 cup of warm milk.
3 Tbsp yogurt
1/2 tsp salt (do not lessen, it is needed to rise the dough)
1 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
2 1/2 c flour
1/4c softened butter
Kneed for 15 minutes, cover and let rise in a warm location for 30 min. until doubled in size. Roll the dough into a 12 by 12 square. Cover with the Filling and sprinkle lightly with finely chopped pecans if you desire them. Roll up the dough and slice into 1 inch piece. Place them in extra large muffin cups on a baking sheet . Cover and Let Rise for 1 hour.
3 Tbsp softened butter
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
Brush with milk and sprinkle with pearl sugar
Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for 10 min. until golden brown.
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