Celebrating with St. Lucia Buns

Celebrating Santa Lucia Day

On December 13th families across the globe celebrate Santa Lucia Day, or the Festival of Lights. This beloved European tradition is meant to bring hope and light during the darkest time of the year and mark the beginning of the Christmas season. It can be celebrated at home with family, but most Waldorf schools take celebrate the festival as well.

A small girl is dressed up as Lucia for St. Lucia Day. Bella Luna Toys

The History of St. Lucia Day

St. Lucia Day was adopted from the Scandinavian holiday that has been celebrated in Sweden since the late 1700s, in which a young woman was selected to travel from farm to farm delivering baked goods before dawn. It commemorates Lucia of Syracuse, who according to legend, brought food and aid to those in need. She was said to wear a candlelit wreath on her head to light her way and leave her hands free to carry as much food as possible. The young woman selected to play Lucia wears similar garb.

A young girl dressed as Lucia for St. Lucia Day - Bella Luna Toys

St. Lucia Day and Waldorf 

Each Waldorf school’s traditions vary but in most modern-day celebrations the oldest girl in year 2 or 3 is selected to play Lucia, while the other children fill the roles of maids of honor and star boys. The children usually prepare sweet saffron rolls or other baked goods. Then, dressed in white robes, they deliver these treats to the other classrooms while singing. 

St. Lucia Felted Doll from Bella Luna Toys

A Traditional St. Lucia Verse

Santa Lucia, Thy light is glowing,

Through darkest winter night, Comfort bestowing,

Dreams float on wings of night, Comes then the morning light,

Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia

Through silent winter gloom, Thy song comes winging to

Waken the earth anew, Glad carols bringing,

Come thou, oh Queen of Night,

Wearing thy crown so bright,

Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia

Santa Lucia, Christmas fore-telling,

Fill hearts with hope and cheer, Dark fear dispelling,

Bring to the world's call,

Peace and good will to all,

Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia

- Traditional St. Lucia Day Song

St. Lucia Buns from the Waldorf Kindergarten Snackbook

Celebrate by Baking St. Lucia Buns

St. Lucia Buns are a slightly sweet saffron infused bread that is traditionally served during the festivities. The Swedish name, lussekatter, translates to Lucia's cat and is supposed to resemble a cat and it's tail curled up in the cold winter weather. This recipe from the Waldorf Kindergarten Snack Book is a great way to get children involved in the preparation and excitement of the festival!


  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 pkgs. yeast
  • 2 cups warmed milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 sticks butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 8 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 t. salt
    1. In a large bowl, combine water and yeast. Allow to become foamy.
    2. Mix together all ingredients, except butter.
    3. Mix in butter.
    4. Knead dough for 10 minutes.
    5. Let rise for 1 hour.
    6. Punch down dough.
    7. Form into figure eight or S shapes. First make long, thin ropes. Then form into the figure eight shape or an S shape.
    8. Brush egg whites on buns before baking.
    9. Bake at 350° for 20 to 30 minutes.

Recipe from the Waldorf Kindergarten Snack Book and shared by Kirsten Carr from The Waldorf School, Lexington, Massachusetts.

We look forward to celebrating St. Lucia Day! What are your families favorite Festival of Lights traditions?


  • Arcadia

    Hi, thanks for sharing this recipe! Is the egg supposed to be mixed into the batter or is it just for the egg white at the end?

  • Meredith

    Those look beautiful and I love the verse. I missed this celebration but we will still bake the bread 💟

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.