December 13 is St. Lucy's Day, or the Feast of St. Lucia, if you want to get all formal about it. A very cool tradition of St. Lucy's Day (most often observed in Scandinavian countries, or in families with a northern European heritage, or in families that have a daughter named Lucy!) is that the oldest daughter of the family brings a breakfast of coffee and St. Lucia buns to her parents; she traditionally dresses in a white gown and wears a wreath of candles on her head. This would end in disaster in my house . . . . The tradition allows the other daughters to help their older sister, but they carry a single candle. Here's a link to a recipe for the buns, which are quite tasty!
tangent: The buns have a figure eight shape, with raisins or currants placed in the centers of the circles; they're supposed to look just the littlest bit like two eyes. This, of course, is to commemorate the legend that St. Lucia had her eyeballs plucked out (or maybe plucked them out herself?) because she wanted to keep her virginity and so refused to marry a wicked pagan suitor. Love the creepy Christian martyr traditions . . . . Fa la la la la, la la la la!
So behind today's Advent calendar door, we find a book about St. Lucia herself. The fun thing about this book is that it follows the story of a modern family that keeps the St. Lucy's Day customs, and at the same time it tells the story of the saint's life. A two-fer!