Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tradition! (to be sung in the dramatic "Fiddler on the Roof" fashion)

My parents like to pretend that we're a Swedish family. In all fairness, they have lived in Stockholm for several years and back in the day I had some ancestors who emigrated from the land that brought you ABBA, Ace of Base, the Cardigans (did you know that music is one of Sweden's top exports?), H&M, IKEA, meatballs, Volvo, SAAB, and the Swedish Chef (OK, so technically the Swedish Chef does not hail from Sweden). If I add it all up and am generous with the math, I think I might be 1/16th Swedish. But what an important 1/16th it is!

In Sweden December 13th is Santa Lucia Day. If you're a real Swede, the oldest daughter takes sweet rolls to the family in the early morning while wearing a white dress with a red sash and a wreath on her head containing burning candles. If you're a fake Swede like me, you ignore some of the more dangerous elements of the tradition and celebrate by waking up early to have a nice breakfast, which usually consists of homemade cinnamon rolls, fruit, and hot chocolate. That may not sound like an impressive spread to many of you, but when you're used to cereal and milk every day the Santa Lucia breakfast is a big deal.

I didn't plan on celebrating Santa Lucia on the 13th this year since Bert's out of town. I thought we'd do our fake Swede traditional breakfast on Sunday, substituting Trader Joe's chocolate croissants for homemade cinnamon rolls (thank you Trader Joe's for making a product that is both ridiculously easy and incredibly delicious). Duet's inner fake Swede (you know that 1/32nd part of her) must have really been in full force this morning because she woke up at 4:45 am; well before the light of day. Since my toddler-sized wreath of burning candles was packed away I opted not to place it on her head. Una's inner Swede was also hard at work, for, sensing it was Santa Lucia day, she too woke up an hour later, well before her usual wake up time. Since everyone was already awake so early and it was the 13th of December, I decided to celebrate Santa Lucia anyway.
Happy Santa Lucia everyone! The Trader Joe's croissants are conspicuously absent because you have to thaw them out overnight and as I mentioned earlier this was a spontaneous Santa Lucia breakfast. Instead the girls got to drink juice. That's kind of a special occasion drink around here. It reminded me of that scene from "So I Married An Axe Murderer:"
Rose Michaels: What would you say to silver dollar pancakes, fresh squeezed orange juice, bacon, and Kona coffee?
Charlie Mackenzie: Well, that sounds great.
[scene changes to her pouring Charlie a bowl of Fruit Loops]
Rose Michaels: Sorry, I didn't have those other things.
By the way, I unearthed this gem from "The Official Gateway to Sweden:" "Sweden is an egalitarian place these days so any child can be chosen as Lucia for the annual procession at the local daycare centre, not just pretty ones with long blonde hair." Phew. I know that I for one, will rest better tonight knowing that Santa Lucia equality has finally been reached. It melts my heart to know that somewhere in Sweden today an ugly dark-haired preschooler fulfilled her dreams as Santa Lucia. I hope she didn't burn her brown hair off.


Steve and Kenna said...
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Mary Poppins said...

i would have loved a visit from the princess dressed as santa lucia. who knew we had so much in common? and to think, we could have been celebrating together.

Angie said...

So, when did you start using Bert's real name in your posts? Did you notice that. It kind of took me by surprise! Sounds like a way fun tradition! Did you normally celebrate it when you were home with your parents? Or did you learn about it after they had lived there for awhile? Maybe it will be something you can pass onto your beautiful Santa Lucia worthy daughters!

Mary Poppins said...

I so did not notice that slip-up, but thanks to editing, it's all fixed now. i grew up celebrating santa lucia and it will be a fun tradition to pass on to the girls. but even if they were ugly, they'd still be eligible to be santa lucia now that sweden's so egalitarian.