Saint Lucy’s Day, locally known as Luca’s Day or Luca nap (December 13th), marks the beginning of the Christmas season with a unique blend of traditions, superstitions, and charming rituals. Saint Lucy, a third-century virgin martyr, is the patron saint of light and sight. Her story, characterized by her unwavering faith and selflessness, has resonated with Hungarians for centuries. Hungarians believe that on Saint Lucy’s Day, the veil between the earthly and the spiritual worlds thins, allowing witches and other magical beings to roam freely.
One of the distinctive customs celebrating Luca’s Day in Hungary is making Luca Day’s scones (Luca pogácsa). Luca scones are prepared on December 12th, and served on December 13th. According to old Hungarian folklore, baking, washing, and weaving were forbidden on Luca’s Day because it was believed that these activities would anger the spirits and bring bad luck.
Luca scones have a special twist since small coins are hidden within some of the scones, that are said to bring luck to those who find them. In the 18th century, the tradition of hiding coins in the scones began to gain popularity. This was likely due to the influence of Christianity, as the coins were seen as a symbol of Saint Lucy’s purity and generosity. The belief that those who found the coins would have a lucky new year also helped to spread the tradition. While the superstition about the hidden coins is not widely believed anymore, the scones are still enjoyed for their festive flavor and symbolism.
(Source of the recipe: kalcirecept.hu)