Happy St. Lucia Day!
I know. I get the question every year. "I thought Mormons didn't believe in Catholic Saints?" This is a family tradition, started by me and a really wonderful teacher in 1976.
Miss Morgan was my 2nd grade teacher. She spent her summers traveling around the world. Throughout the school year, she would bring her knowledge and the exotic treasures she collected and teach her class about what was outside our little community.
At age 8 I learned how to twirl poi balls from New Zealand (which impressed my mother-in-love to no end. Who knew my future DH would be from NZ?) I learned about France and Mexico, England and Tonga. But the country that impressed me the most was Sweden.
My maternal ancestors are from Sweden. That Christmas of 1976, Miss Morgan explained the tradition of St. Lucia Day and told us that the oldest girl in class would be selected to be St. Lucia.
That wasn't me.
I was the second oldest in the class. The oldest was a girl who was a year older than us, held back in school, and awkward in every sense of the word. She came from a poor home and was teased mercilessly by crueler kids in the room. When it was announced that Polly would be the St. Lucia for our class, some of the kids groaned loudly. Polly slunk down in her chair.
The next day Polly didn't show. She was from my neighborhood so I went to find her after school. She ditched school on purpose so she would not have to be St. Lucia. (Polly is another story for another time.)
Miss Morgan made me a crown with paper holly leaves and candles. I still have that crown. I had to go around the class and wake up the students who were pretending to be sleeping. I was supposed to sing as I went so I sang I Wish You A Merry Christmas. I remember one student, John H., pretended extra hard to snore loudly and not wake up in an effort to tease me. I poked him extra hard to wake him up.
The whole experience left such an impression on me that I asked my mom if I could do it the following year. Every year I would put on my paper crown, and in my nightgown, I would wake up my family with hot chocolate and orange rolls (when you don't drink coffee or know how to make saffron buns, you learn to adapt).
Now my 5 yr old DD is our St. Lucia. We celebrate the Sunday after Dec. 13th, since DH leaves too early on a weekday to participate. I help DD by carrying the tray that is too heavy for her to lift. Her job is to climb onto the bed, kiss the sleeper and say "Wake up! Happy Lucia Day!"
Every year I go into my children's elementary classes to teach about Christmas traditions, share our version of St. Lucia Day, and bring the same style of homemade paper crown for the oldest girl, and a Star Boy hat for the oldest boy to wear as they pass around the treats.
This year I made 115 orange rolls for 4 classes (more wanted to join in than my kids three classes and I didn't want to say no).
I hope I have enough orange rolls and chocolate milk.
St. Lucia Orange Rolls
1 Tablespoon Yeast
1/3 Cup warm water
1 Tablespoon honey
1/2 Cup butter1/4 Cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 Cup scalded milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 Cups flour
6 Tablespoons butter
1/2 Cups white sugar
2 Tablespoons grated orange zest
1 Cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
In a small bowl dissolve yeast, warm water and honey. Let proof 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, scald milk, turn off heat and add 1/2 Cup butter, 1/4 Cup sugar and salt. Let stand until lukewarm and butter is melted.
Mix the proofed yeast with the milk mixture, eggs and flour to form a sticky dough. Lightly oil a large bowl, place dough in bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover and let rise in the fridge overnight.
Remove dough from fridge 2 hours before baking. Roll into a 1/4 thick rectangle. Mix softened butter with orange peel and 1/2 Cup white sugar. Spread orange zest mixture over dough and roll up. Cut rolls into 1" slices with dental floss. Place in greased muffin cups. Let rise until double in bulk.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes.Let cool slightly. Mix together powdered sugar and orange juice and drizzle over orange rolls. Makes 12-18 rolls.