The Embassy of Sweden celebrated the traditional Swedish holiday St Lucia at Mikser House and presented the book Swedish Culinary Diplomacy by Lars Ekberg, a long-time chef at the Swedish Embassy in Belgrade.
National traditions and festivals are always a good opportunity to get to know each other better. That is why we celebrate St Lucia in Serbia, with whom Sweden has good relations and cooperation. When we understand each other, when we honor and mutually appreciate traditions and holidays, we build stronger bonds between our countries. I have had the opportunity to learn a lot about Serbia through its holidays, customs and traditions,” said H.E. Swedish ambassador Jan Lundin.
St Lucia is celebrated in Sweden when nights get darkest and winter gets coldest and it is a symbol of light in long winter nights. She is represented by a girl dressed in a white gown with a silk red ribbon around the waist and a candle-lit crown. That is why she is called the Lightbringer, the one who brings warmth and hope into homes. Swedish people celebrate St Lucia with ginger cookies and glögg drink. It is a custom that children dressed in long white robes wake up their parents early at dawn with traditional songs, coffee and cookies.
Having seen the short film about St Lucia, the guests at Mikser House had the unique opportunity to hear Ana Sinicki sing a song about St Lucia, accompanied by Milica Lundin at the piano.
As a part of St Lucia celebrations, the book Swedish Culinary Diplomacy was presented, written by Lars Ekberg, the chef at the Swedish Embassy in Belgrade. Speaking from his personal experience about close connections between food and diplomacy and learning about nations through their cuisine, the author Lars Ekberg said:
In diplomacy, cuisine is considered as one of the oldest tools for interaction and it is often a basic part of important negotiations. Being a chef on behalf of Sweden is a great satisfaction and challenge. I try to use local ingredients and cook them the Swedish way. This book reveals that the dishes found on the ambassador’s table are simple and available for everyone, regarding both the cooking process and the pleasure.`
The book promotion also heralds a series of activities for 2017 to mark
a hundred years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Serbia and Sweden. One of them will focus on the importance of healthy food production in the sustainable society.