Sputtnik, crowned Gavle Lussekatt 2008.
Sputtnik, crowned Gävle Lussekatt 2008.

The other day I saw a great picture on the front of the local newspaper: a cute orange and white kitty licking a whipping cream-covered cake. How cute! I thought it was a great sign for the neighbourhood when ‘cute kitty’ is front page news (albeit of a lesser section of the newspaper). It turns out the cat is Sputtnik, the winner of last year’s ‘Gävle Lussekatt contest’.

Lussekatt is the name of Swedish saffron buns that are very popular at Christmas, starting on Luciadag (St Lucia’s day, December 13.) Traditionally schools/towns choose a young girl to be ‘Lucia’ and bring buns and coffee on a tray on the morning of Luciadag, and usually sing. Nowadays everyone gets to be a Lucia can (boys included) because things are pretty inclusive in Sweden, but at one point there was more of a selection process to ‘crown the Lucia’. I’m told this is not like a beauty contest, but it is hard for me to picture anything but Miss America.

In Lussekatt, the ‘Lusse’ part stands for Lucia. I’m not sure about the ‘katt’ part, since bun is usually ‘bulle’. but the local newspaper has made an annual joke out of it for the last few years by getting people to send I pictures of their cats (along with a bio.) The top pictures are published and the readers vote to crown the year’s Lussekatt. The winner gets their picture and bio published, and perhaps also one of the those whipping cream cakes? I thought about entering some cute pictures of grey kitty, but I don’t think they award it post-humously, and it would be very awkward to explain in broken Swedish when they came to deliver the whipping cream cake (because of course grey kitty would win).

Naturally I will be following developments in this year’s Lussekatt contest very closely and will post results here.


  1. awwww it is meowy, apricot, stalkington the third esquire, milo’s sweedish buddy.
    cute picture dr. sniff.

  2. It’s a strange combination to have a cat photo competition run concurrently with a traditional saffron bun host/hostess competition. I’m glad that they aren’t limiting Lucia candidates to females only. Any more info on how they decide who gets to be Lucia i.e. criteria? It does seem very beauty competition-esque. Lussekatt aside, you and the cat look great!

  3. what cat WOULDN’T want the whole whipped-cream cake thing? Here in the States, there are St. Lucia festivals at the Waldorf schools – they are beautiful candle-lit celebrations, ususally in concert with an advent play and Christmas crafts and handwork – nice things to do in the dark of the year.

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