On December 13, one of the darkest days of the year, St. Lucia Day, or the Festival of Lights, is celebrated throughout Sweden to symbolize the promise of the sun's return. In the past, a young girl would dress in a white gown with a red sash and a wreath of lit candles on her head. She would go from house to house offering baked goods.
Today, the tradition continues with the oldest girl in a family wearing the traditional dress with a wreath of (battery-powered) candles on her head, awakening everyone with a song and saffron buns and coffee.
According to legend, Lucia was a young girl that lived during the fourth century. She was blinded for her Christian beliefs. St. Lucia is the patron saint of the blind.
For a Swedish Christmas dinner, sit down to a table of:
Lutefisk (fish soaked in lye)
Boiled wheat (cuccidata)
Medley of vegetables
Julglögg (a hot, mulled wine)
Saffron buns with raisins
Broomstick cookies (a lacy cookie with almonds and butter)
Food lye not soap lye. But I think that I'd skip the Lutefisk if I didn't know the cook. Reading that they use lye water for making pretzels & bagels, I'm going back to the Julia Childs video where she makes bagels.