Lucia, lussekatter and lots of rain

Yesterday, Saturday, it poured and poured with rain.  It was not a day for going out, but needs must, and we drove out to the Pak ‘n’ Save in Petone for a big food shop, followed by warm pies eaten in the car straight from the paper bag.  The high life!

As I mentioned in the last post, June is normally summer for us.  With Karl being Swedish, this weekend would normally be when we celebrate Midsummer, which is a huge holiday in Sweden.  The country comes to a standstill, and people dance around midsummer poles singing songs, and naturally drinking and eating a lot.

People celebrating midsummer, Sweden.Dancing down the midsummer pole – picture courtesy of The Guardian

However, it is mid winter here, and the local Sweden New Zealand society hosted a Lucia event.  In Sweden this is held on 13th December in the middle of winter, hence it being transposed to June here.  For those of you who don’t know what that is then you can read about it here Lucia

You may well at some point have seen pictures of girls dressed in white with candles on their heads – well, that is Lucia.  One girl is selected to be Lucia and lead the parade through the church, village or school hall.  Here in Wellington, the girl chosen to be Lucia actually had real candles on her head (nowadays in Sweden they are often electric).  We were both pleasantly surprised at the large number of girls (and 4 boys) who participated, and that they could actually sing quite well.  The boys wear tall, pointy hats and are known as stjärngossar or ‘star boys’ and there is sometimes one dressed as a pepparkaksgubbe or ‘gingerbread man’.

954604_570592732979968_1617518807_nPicture courtesy of Swedes in Wellington

Of course no blog post here could be complete without a mention of food.  After the concert, we were served glögg (mulled wine) and a wide selection of biscuits and cakes, contributed by members of the society.  I kind of forgot to take pictures, but remembered at the last minute to take a picture of an almost empty plate that still had two lussekatter or cinnamon buns on it.

IMG_0701Lussekatter on the left and something else tasty on the right

Naturally I also contributed something, namely some basic vanilla biscuits with added ‘craisins’ or dried cranberries.  The recipe came from an Australian Women’s Weekly cookbook.  All you need to do is beat 200g butter, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 160g icing sugar and an egg with an electric mixer or a very strong arm until light and fluffy.  Add in the craisins and then stir in, bit by bit, 260g of plain flour and 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.  Roll into balls, place on trays a reasonable distance apart, and bake for 15 minutes at 170C.

IMG_0697Vanilla biscuits with craisins

IMG_0699More biscuits with telephone and modem cables in the background

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6 Comments

  1. The Lucia festival sounds like fun. Thanks for the link to the article too – I hadn’t realised that the lussekatter buns were meant to represent curled up cats! It didn’t really say why (just ‘because’ ?!) but as long as they taste good I don’t suppose it matters. I like the look of your creations and think the addition of dried cranberries to the melting moment type biscuits sounds really good. XX

  2. Meant to say, I know that lussekatter translates as saffron cats, I just don’t understand the significance of cats (saffron or otherwise!) in the Lucia festival… XX

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