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Steamboat Magazine

Cuisine: Santa Lucia Festival of Lights

12/01/2011 01:00AM ● By Deborah Olsen

Holiday 2011:

Cuisine: Santa Lucia Festival of Lights

by Deborah Olsen

Santa Lucia Festival of Lights

Lady of the Night: Katrina Anderson portrays Saint Lucia.  Photo copyright Amy Riley.

Steamboat Springs, CO - Scandinavian heritage is a common bond among many Steamboat Springs’  residents, and each year friends gather during the holidays to enjoy and preserve  Old World traditions. Perhaps none is so prevalent as the Santa Lucia festival of  lights, celebrated yearly on Dec. 13.  “In pretty much every Swedish home, the oldest daughter is the “Santa Lucia” of  the household. She gets up early on Dec. 13 to prepare coffee, lusse buns and cookies.  She wakes her parents and serves them breakfast,” says Lou Mathews, originally  from Sweden.  Santa Lucia Day ushers in the holiday season. “We spend the whole day (Dec.  24) cooking,” says Janette Thielemann, who grew up in Lidkjöping, Sweden. “It’s  such a wonderful family tradition. All the old recipes are pulled out and discussion  is heated: whose recipe is the best – Grandma’s, Mom’s or my husband’s? Christmas  is all about eating in our family, we always compete in how many times we can go  up to the Julbordet (Christmas table) and fill our plates.”