On December 13, one of the longest and darkest nights of the winter, Swedes celebrate the festival of St. Lucia, the patron saint of light. In many homes, a girl gets up early in the morning and puts on a long white dress, with a red sash at the waist, and a laurel crown decorated with four candles. She serves her family warm lussekatt buns for breakfast. The buns, shaped like the number eight, are usually flavored with saffron and topped with raisins or nuts. Boys, called star boys, wear long white shirts and pointed hats. They help serve the buns. Children often go to school dressed in the costumes and serve the buns to their teachers.
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