I am rarely able to bake and display in one day, but today will be an exception to that rule; today is the night before Lussi (the day of Saint Lucia). Living in a country that is predominantly protestant, there has never been much focus on saints. There is also very little focus (if any) on religion in the celebration of Lussi. For me, Lussi has meant school or kindergarten celebrations (I’ll elaborate in a bit) and the baking of Lussekatter.
In kindergartens or school (the lower grades) Lussi is celebrated by kids dressing in white and parading through the school or kindergarten or through a care home to entertain the elderly. Every kid is dressed in white and holding a white candle. One girl, often with long blond hair, is crowned Lucia and leads the parade. She wears a crown holding candles.
It is a celebration of light in the darkest time of the year. The Christian traditions have mixed with old heathen traditions resulting in a tradition now that I believe most Norwegians would not be able to connect to any religion or faith. What is obvious though is the symbolic white and bright in a time of darknes, where there is a bit christianity mixed in with the mentioning of St. Lucia, and the devil through the lussekatter (lussi cats – referring to Lucifer the cat), and the lighting of candle and dressing in white to bring light in order to scare off the heathen creatures of the underworld lurking in the night.
Anyway, the reason why we bake these lussekatter might not be interesting at all (especially not with such an inadequate introduction), but the main reason is the tradition itself (at least it is to me). And the fact that the lussekatter are bright, ocher-y yellow also adds to the fun.
Today Son and I have spent some good, quality time together, dancing along to christmas songs while kneading a bright, yellow dough. I think I had more fun than him! I’ll give you the recipe in case you want to try it yourself:
- 2,5 dl of milk (the more fat the better)
- 25 grams of fresh yeast
- 75 grams of butter
- 0,5 grams of saffron or 1 teaspoon of turmeric
- 1 teaspoon of cardamom
- 1 egg
- about 6 dl of flour
Cook for 5-8 mins at 250 degrees celsius.
This year I made one batch with saffron and one with turmeric. I have never tried saffron before, for reasons unknown to me. The saffron was a nice change, it gave a better colour, better smell, but is still a little new to me. The turmeric smell and taste is what I’m used to. But I think saffron might win in the long run…