In Norway and Sweden, it is a tradition celebrating Saint Lucy Day (or Santa Lucia as she is called in Norwegian) on December 13th.
One of my earliest memories of that day was the procession my kindergaten had at the local primary school where we was dressed up in white gowns/cloaks singing the song "Santa Lucia" while handing out "Lussekatter", a Christmas cookie/treat. Also, one lucky kid at kindergarten had the honour to be "Lucia", wearing the light crown and walking in front of the actual procession (I never got the chance, and I'm still a bit bummed over it, because I remember I desperately wanted to).
Here's a video showing the song and the procession (though not with Lussekatter).
Since I'm anyway writing a post about Santa Lucia and Lussekatter, I wanted to share with you a recipe for, you guessed it, Lussekatter.
1 kg all purpose flour
5 dl whole milk
150 grams white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
1 gram saffron (can be substituted for 1/2 teaspoon tumeric)
2 eggs, one for the dough and one for brushing the cookies
50 grams fresh yeast (one one sachet dry yeast)
150 grams melted butter, cooled a bit down
Raisins for decoration (optional)
Mix the saffron, egg and the yeast in the milk. Mix all other (dry) ingredients in a bowl. First add the milk mixture in the bowl and blend it a bit before adding the melted butter, so you don't end up with scrambled eggs in the dough.
Let the dough rise for around 45 minutes, and then cut the dough up in small pieces and make figures as pictures showed here. Let the lussekatter rest/rise for another 45 minutes on a baking sheet. Before placing them in the pre-heated oven, brush them with the remaining egg and decorate with raisins. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius. Put them in the oven for around 8 to 10 minutes.