Friday, December 18, 2015

Emily's Saint Lucia's Day

If you look into the hidden recesses of piled up boxes in the Barn entryway, you will be rewarded with very old pictures of Paul, Melissa, and of course all the kids (along with some old ski or camping equipment Abigail thought was lost forever). With the date of Quinn and I's wedding drawing ever nearer, he and I had gone on an archeological expedition to find pictures of himself as a kid for a slide show we were putting together. 

This happened over a year ago, yet my mind can still see the huge boxes as they came out of hiding (from behind the sleeping bags and boxes of Alaska String Band CDs). They were full to bursting with books, cards, and envelopes full of pictures. 

 I loved looking through everything, and along the way I found some real treasures. My favorite was a photo of Laura all dolled up and looking positively unimpressed with whatever Melissa was having her do:

One Christmas, Melissa had decided Laura and the family needed to celebrate Santa Lucia Day, or Saint Lucy's Day, a very old Swedish tradition that takes place in the darkest of winter. The oldest daughter of the family got up early in the morning on the 13th of December and made saffron buns (or in Laura's case, cinnamon buns) and served them to her family wearing a white dress with a red sash and a glowing wreath of candles on her head.

In Laura's own words: "This is it. This is how I'm going to die..."

Even though she says it was the worst thing ever (and her expression in that first photo really speaks truth to that), I think her smile - and Quinn's too - show that she was having a good time. Maybe.

After seeing the adorable photo of Laura I became really interested in Saint Lucy's Day - and the little girl in me longed to dress up all pretty and serve my family cinnamon buns (I AM the eldest after all). 
I told Quinn all about how I wanted to celebrate Saint Lucy's Day, and being the wonderful husband that he is, he encouraged me to do it. I don't think he planned for me to go quite as far as I did though...

Saturday the 12th finally came and Quinn and I stayed up late into the night making saffron buns from a recipe I found. 

I had never cooked with saffron before, and I was so excited to see how the buns turned out!

While we rolled out the dough and curled it into little 'S' shapes, I told Quinn the story behind the Swedish holiday:

According to legend, Lucia brought food and supplies to Christians hiding away in catacombs. She wanted to carry as much as she could, so she wore a wreath of candles to light her way.

However, the story comes to a sad end with Lucia being martyred for her faith. With such a beautiful story of devotion to the Lord and her fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, I hope to celebrate this holiday every Christmas as a reminder that we should always put others before ourselves, and that even in the darkest of circumstances, light can always be found. 


As we finished up the last of the buns, Quinn and I got everything ready for the following morning. We didn't want a repeat of the previous Sunday, where Abigail had found out our secret Saint Nicholas plans by accident, so we planned to get up extra extra early.

Quinn might have also been re-thinking how encouraging he had been when I asked him to do something extra special for me...

You see, in Sweden not only girls dress up for Saint Lucy's Day, the boys dress up to! They're 'star boys', also lighting up the darkness.

I found this pretty painting here.

Quinn didn't seem very excited at first, but when I told him he got to wear a tall, pointy cone hat, he agreed.

Now all that was left to do was to wait till morning...

The sun hadn't come up yet when we woke up, it was still hiding behind the mountains far away. I hurriedly went down the stairs in the barn and started to get ready, while Quinn followed sleepily behind me. 

We stuck the saffron buns in the oven to warm them up, and soon we were all ready. We carefully snuck next door and Quinn tried to open the door and...

LOCKED! The door was LOCKED!

Here we were all dressed up, myself holding a tray full of hot saffron buns, and the family had locked the door! Quinn was kind and ran around the house to the back door - which thankfully- was open. 

Nothing else could go wrong...right?

Hahahahaha! You must not know me.

Quinn came around and unlocked the front door and let me in as he whispered, "Mom's sleeping on the COUCH! I'll go sneak and turn the music on, you light your head on fire!"

As it turned out, Melissa woke up super early and couldn't sleep, so she had come downstairs and cleaned the whole kitchen before laying on the couch to sleep some more. But even though it was unexpected, she still woke up with a big smile on her face when I walked through the door to the song "Santa Lucia" playing.

She was so surprised, the first thing she said was "Emily, you look like an angel!" 

Then it was off up the stairs where Paul and Abby were still snug in their beds.

Quinn and I snuck into each of their rooms and offered them saffron buns. Meanwhile, Melissa was already making hot cocoa and tea downstairs for a very scrumptious breakfast together.

But before we sat down to eat more saffron buns, Abigail was kind enough to take some pictures of us out in the morning sunshine...

Quinn's robes I had made from two sheets, and the dress I wore was a vintage wedding dress found at a local thrift store for $20. I had made my candle wreath back in September - I had been so excited for Saint Lucy's Day even then! 

Back inside around the table we read the Christmas story from the Bible and drank our hot cocoa. Quinn put a sheet over his head to show just how tired he really was.

"Next year," Abigail said to me, "I want to help you and dress up too!"

We had such a fun morning, even if it didn't go quite as we had planned. And I think we have a new tradition in our family, and maybe next year Laura will be Saint Lucia instead of me.

~The End~

1 comment:

  1. Love, love, love this post. The photo of you holding the tray is stunning! The ones of you and Quinn are beautiful, also. Little Laura is too cute.
    Your Christmas surprises are such fun. Wish we lived closer.;)


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