December 13 is Lucia in Sweden. A wonderful tradition. Can't imagine this day without Lucia. At my workplace we celebrate Lucia in style. We meet up at the Historical museum (just over the yard form my office) sit down and wait for the Lucia and her company to come and sing for us. As always Lidingö Kammarkör.
After the Lucia concert, we drink coffee and eat saffron buns and ginger breads. A great way to start the lucia day.
The holiday season has begun and I have started to prepare for the upcoming holidays of Advent, Lucia and Christmas. Today I made Lussekatter - a saffron bun, - lussekatt in Swedish (literally "Lucy cat", after Saint Lucy). This bun is the most popular bun during the Christmas season in Sweden. You can buy it in every food store/ supermarket in the country and most people makes their own.
the yellow dough will turn into delicious buns
Want to make your own?
Lussekatter (Makes about 50)
75g/3oz fresh yeast or corresponding quantity instant dried yeast 2 tbsp water 500ml/18fl oz milk 150g/6oz butter 2 eggs 1kg/2 ½lb fine, plain white flour 1g saffron, finely ground 150g/6oz caster sugar 1 tsp salt 100g/3oz raisins To glaze: One egg
Crumble the yeast in the lukewarm water into a bowl. Melt the butter and pour in the milk and warm until tepid (37° C/98° F). Mix together and add the whisked eggs. Pour some water over the saffron and stir it together. Add to the mixture together with salt and sugar and half of the flour and mix until smooth. Add remainder of flour (keep some for making the shapes) and knead until smooth and pliable, but not too firm (approx.10 min). Cover and leave in room temperature to rise until double in size.
Turn out on to a floured work surface. Divide dough into four parts, which in turn divides into 12 pieces. Roll each part into 15cm/6” finger-thick sausage and shape into a letter S. Press on a few raisins as decoration. Place the buns on buttered or baking paper-lined baking sheets. Cover and leave to prove until they look light and puffy, about 30 min.
Brush with beaten egg and bake in the centre of a 275° C/525° F oven for 8-10 min. Place on a wire rack and cover with a cloth. Leave to cool.
Eat - and drink cold milk or hot Glögg. Coffee and tea work fine as well!
Since my neighbour down under has a hell of a party tonight - and I'm not invited - and I'm can't go to bed, so I'm sitting in the sofa watching dvd movies. At the moment - Top Gun.
Last weekend we had the annual Autumn Fair at Skansen. The Autumn Fair is held at Skansen on the last weekend in September each year. Tradition claims that Michaelmas fairs used to be held all over Sweden. At Skansen the Autumn Fair is an annual fixture at which you will meet tavern waitresses, stable-lads, farmers and smallholders bringing this year’s produce to market. The fair is organized by Skansen’s Village Institute and it provides a taste of life at a country fair in the old days.
And on Sunday I met up with Katarina at the Skansen gate. It was a really nice Autumn day - a blue sky and a bit chily.
We had lunch -Swedish potato dumplings. We did some shopping - bread, sausages. Walked around the area enjoying a great day.
We had a cold morning today, and when I walked across Karlaplan it actually snowed! Yay! We have the Lucia day today. And because it was Lucia, Karlaplan/Karlavägen was beautiful lit by candles all the way!
The Lucia day is my favorite festive day of the year. Named after a Sicilian saint, the Swedish Lucia does not have much in common with her namesake. She is celebrated in a variety of ways but the most common is the Lucia procession consisting of a group of young girls and boys singing traditional Lucia songs.
On her head, the girl playing the part of Lucia wears a wreath of lingonberry sprigs with holders for real candles to give the effect of a halo. She also has a white, full-length chemise with a red ribbon round her waist. Her female attendants are dressed similarly and the "star boys" wear white pointed hats decorated with stars. Lucia processions are held in various places, ranging from kindergartens and schools to Churches and the Swedish Parliament. The picture is showing the Lidingö Chamber Choir's Lucia and two of her "star boys".
When I was in high school we had Lucia wakes during the night to Lucia. There where parties to attend at school or at friends and the night ended with a lucia procession in the homes of popular teachers around 5 - 7 am. And after that it was time go to school and go in school choir lucia procession.
The many Lucia songs all have the same theme:
The night treads heavily around yards and dwellings In places unreached by sun, the shadows brood Into our dark house she comes, bearing lighted candles, Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia.
Most Swedes know the standard Lucia song by heart, and everyone can sing it, in or out of tune. On the morning of Lucia Day, the radio plays some rather more expert renderings, by school choirs or the like.
At work this morning, we all walked across the yard to The Museum of National Antiquities and our annual Lucia celebration. As usual the Lucia came from Lidingö Chamber Choir and it brought me - as usual - goose bumps on my arms and tears in my eyes.
We ended the day with glögg - mulled wine and ginger snaps and sweet, saffronflavoured buns (lussekatter) shaped like curled-up cats and with raisin eyes. And during our small gathering we all got the news of a salary rise. Not bad at all! =)
Summer solstrice is here. This night is the shortest of the year. Sunrise this morning was at 3.33 am and sunset is 10.08 pm - but it's cloudy so no sun is shining here.
This weekend is the Midsummer weekend. And it has already started! In modern Sweden, Midsummer's Eve and Midsummer's Day are celebrated from the eve of the Friday between June 19 - 25. It is arguably the most important holiday of the year, and one of the most uniquely Swedish in the way it is celebrated, even if it has been influenced by other countries long ago. The main celebrations take place on the Friday, and the traditional events include raising and dancing around a huge maypole. One typical dance is the frog dance. Before the maypole is raised, greens and flowers are collected and used to cover the entire pole.
Most people has tomorrow off and many only had to work half day today. If you have the chance to leave the city, you leave. To your country house, to your friends country house or to your neighbour's aunts country house. When I was a teenager and in my early 20s, there were big Midsummer partys at Rättvik, in Dalarna, Borgholm, in Öland or Möja, Stockholm. And these parties were often wild with lots of alcohol and fights.
Today these party site's still exist and in the newspapers, the day after, are filled with sad stories about knife fights and other violent stuff.
The adults has (perhaps) more organized party with the neighbours or with their friends, or perhaps with the family. If you are in Stockholm and want so see a typical Swedish Midsummer (without the booze) Skansen is the place to be. There you can join others to dress the maypole and dance around it. With lots of Swedish folk music and traditional folk dresses. My plans for tomorrow? I have a dinner party to go to with my friends Doc, Mr T and the tiny boy.
Because Midsummer is one of the times of the year when magic is believed to be the strongest, it was a good night to perform rituals to look into the future. Traditionally, young people pick bouquets of seven or nine (depending where in the country you hails from)different flowers and put them under their pillow in the hope of dreaming about their future spouse. I remember doing this as a kid and as a teenager, picking flowers at night with no talking, you should pick these flowers in silence - and that was hard when you was in company with other giggleling teenage girls.
But that's tomorrow, today it just is the shortest night of the year, so Have a good sleep!
It's Thursday, but the weekend has begun! We have a public holiday today, The Ascension is one of the great feasts in the Christian liturgical calendar, and commemorates the bodily Ascension of Jesus into Heaven. But the Swedes are not very religious nowdays, so we're enjoying a day off and and those who can, take Friday off too for 4 day weekend and goes to their country house's. We (I) who work for the government have always this Friday off.
I'm going to stay at home this weekend, meeting friends and enjoying the sun (I hope anyway - at the moment it's grey outside). I started off this morning with a long healthy breakfast -a bowl of low fat yoghurt with fresh strawberries and Cantaloupe melon and a pot of Sir William tea (my favorite tea, bought at Sibyllans Tea and Coffee shop in Stockholm).
The picture is showing yarn from the online store Garnkorgen, witch I bought earlier this week. Sock yarn of course. One skein of Regia, Canadian colour - 4739, and 2 hanks of Lornas Lace's - china blue. I have not found a pattern yet for these, but I will seach my books.
For the next 4 weeks I in charged of my neighbours apartment. I'm house sitting while she is on holiday. Water her plants, check her mail and so on. I just hope I won't kill her plants... I'm perhaps not the best plant care taker in the world..
And for you Norwegians out there, Happy 17 th May!