Christmas in Sweden
In Sweden, with their Lutheran tradition, the celebration begins with the Advent. The lighting of each Sunday candle on the advent wreath readies the heart for wonderful Christmas festivities. With the Saint Lucia ceremony, on December 13, the season begins in earnest in Sweden: the youngest daughter puts on a white robe with a red sash and wears a crown of evergreens with tall-lighted candles attached to it ( the candles on the crowns are now electric ). She awakens her parents, followed by the other children of the family including “star boys”, stjarngossar, in long white shirts, pointed hats, carrying star wands, and serving them coffee and “Lucia buns”.
Lucia symbolizes light and growth as she emerges out of the darkness
preheat oven to 375F
- 1/2 t. dried saffron
- 3 tablespoons boiling water
- 2 tablespoons dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup scalded milk
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup dried candied fruit rinds
- 1/2 cup currants
- 4 cups sifted flour
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 egg yolk
- wheat can usually be purchased at your local crafts store.
- Hollow wheat straw is the easiest to work with.
- Dry straw must be soaked flat in cold water for about 15 minutes, and then stood upright to drain before plaiting.
- The Five-Straw Plait is the easiest to work with for a beginner:
1. Tie 5 straws together close to the ears.
2-5. Each time the straw being folded passes over two corners, it is then left and the one at the last corner is picked up and used in its place until the round is completed.
The attractive spiral pattern grows as round succeeds round.
6. When completed, the ends are tied to the starting point below the ears, making a decorative circle.
To feed in new straws, cut the old straw off after it has passed the second straw. The thin end of the new straw is inserted in the hole, making sure of a firm fit which is hidden under the fold of the straw of the next round.
Simple corn dollies can also be made with the standard three-straw plait.
~from Harvest Lore
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