Brighten your workday with Lucia

Dec. 13 is St. Lucia Day


Dec. 13 is St Lucia Day, a day that many kindergartens and schools celebrate with Lucia processions and lussekatter, or Lucia buns, typically made with saffron. But why not bring this tradition into the workplace, too?

“Freshly baked saffron buns can be more than just a treat. Spreading joy in the workplace in a dark time an mean a lot for the working environment,” says Torunn Nordbø, general manager of the Information Office for Bread and Grain.

Nordbø has arranged for Lucia processions and Lucia buns in the office for several years. During the pandemic, Torunn and a colleague, both wearing Lucia costumes and candles in their hair, drove around to everyone working from home, handing out the baked goods. It brought joy, warmth, and laughter.

“It can be a way of showing care, gratitude, and recognition for colleagues. It can also be an opportunity to share culture, traditions, and stories with each other, which can strengthen cohesion and inclusion in the working community,” says Nordbø.

In Norway, two out of 10 bake Lucia buns before Christmas

How many people actually bake Lucia buns for Christmas? This has been investigated by Opinion on behalf of MatPrat and the Information Office for Bread and Grains.

The survey shows that 17% of those questioned have a tradition of baking Lucia buns before Christmas. It is mostly young adult women in the Oslo area who bake the buns, while there are fewest baking them are elderly men in northern Norway.

Lucia buns can be baked like ordinary wheat buns, but that what makes them special is their shape and yellow color. The shape can be an S, a spiral, wreath, or a figure. The yellow color comes from saffron, which gives the luscious buns a distinct taste and aroma. The Lucia buns are often decorated with raisins.

“If you want extra airy and juicy Lucia buns, you can try the tangzhong method. It involves making a mixture of part of the flour together with some of the liquid before the rest of the ingredients are added. This means that the baked goods longer,” says Nordbø. She adds that Lucia buns can also be baked without gluten or only plant-based, for those who have special dietary needs or wishes.

If you don’t feel like baking the Lucia buns yourself, most shops and bakeries in Norway have Lucia buns on their counters for St. Lucia Day.

Read about the origins of the Lucia tradition in Norway.

Experience St. Lucia Day in Drøbak, Norway with Rick Steves (YouTube)

Bake your own Lucia buns with Taste of Norway Editor Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen

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NTB (Norsk Telegrambyrå), the Norwegian News Agency, is a press agency and wire service that serves most of the largest Norwegian media outlets. The agency is located in Oslo and has bureaus in Brussels, Belgium, and Tromsø in northern Norway