I have just separated the wheat from the chaff. Literally. It’s St Lucy’s Day, a day of lots of folklore, mostly Scandinavian, Italian and East European, but Shetland and Orkney used to get in on the act too.
I could have set my hair on fire wearing a crown of lighted candles. Had I been the eldest, I could have dressed as a Lussibrud in white, and worn a red sash and red stockings and fed everyone Lussekatter, (yeasted saffron buns shaped like a cat’s tail), but I’m not the eldest, my track record with yeast is best not mentioned, plus baking today is forbidden (along with threadcraft and laundry). I was most tempted by celebrating Venetian style with a plate of frico, otherwise known as fried cheese wedges. But in the end, I plumped for planting some wheat.
In countries like Hungary and Croatia, it is traditional to plant a handful of wheat in a small dish on St Lucy’s Day so as to be grown in time for a Christmas Day nativity offering. And I have a lot of wheat leftover from the corn dolly debacle. And a small dish.
I have no idea whether this wheat is going to work, after all my wheat may just be decorative. And I did pump it full of moth repellent when I last used it. Notwithstanding, I shook out an ear then picked over the husks to find the seeds, and planted what I found. If the old dried kidney beans could come up, I’m keeping my fingers crossed the old dried wheat berries will do the same. The dish is now on my desk, near the radiator and I shall report back.
Right, I’m now off to contemplate a late night Sancta Lucia Martini. St Lucy was famous for plucking out her eyeballs in an attempt to run off an ardent admirer. In honour of this sacrifice, the Sancta Lucia Martini has two stuffed olives, one for each eye. Cheers!
Blackburn, B. and Holdford-Strevens, L. (2003) The Oxford Companion to the Year. An Exploration of Calendar Customs and Time-Reckoning, Oxford, Oxford University Press
Chambers, R. (ed) (2004) The Book of Days, A Miscellany of POPULAR ANTIQUITIES in connection with THE CALENDAR including, ANECDOTE, BIOGRAPHY, & HISTORY CURIOSITIES of LITERATURE and ODDITIES of HUMAN LIFE and CHARACTER, Edinburgh, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd
Cooper, Q. and Sullivan, P. (1994) Maypoles, Martyrs & Mayhem: 366 Days of British Myths, Customs & Eccentricities, London, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc