Today is St Lucia in many Scandinavian countries (and quite a few others as well), where they celebrate Saint Lucy by baking spectacular saffron buns in her honour, eating pepparkakor (Swedish ginger biscuits which I personally think should be eaten more than once a year!) and taking part in processions where usually the eldest daughter in each family is crowned with an ornate (but rather risky) headdress.
Here in Bavaria, they commemorate this particular Saints Day, but in a completely different way. No candles are worn on heads, but instead they are placed inside homemade tiny paper cottages, or luzienhäuschen. These come complete with doors and windows covered in tracing paper to let the light through. They are then set afloat on nearby rivers as an offering to protect their real houses from any future flooding. Apparently this tradition has been slowly making a comeback in recent years after almost becoming extinct, so we will keep an eye out for any tiny floating houses tonight. It’s so interesting how traditions change from country to country, I would love to know the reasons behind the different variations…
Here in our house, a completely modern take on a Scandinavian Saint Lucia perhaps? The Six Year Old came home from school with this on top of her head!! Consisting of a clip, a Christmas toadstool, some fake berries stolen from the Christmas wreath and a piece of Spirograph. This rather unusual accessory had apparently been lovingly constructed by her little brother. She proudly announced to him that she had been wearing it all day (having taken it to school in her bag)! I do hope that the teachers don’t think I actually put this rather unusual adornment in her hair, we are after all still new here and I don’t wish to be the subject matter of the staff room quite yet! The miniature milliner was very proud of his creation, and didn’t much appreciate his mother killing herself laughing when she first caught sight of it. Watch out Philip Treacey is all I can say!
Happy Saint Lucia Day however you celebrate it!