Christmas In Sweden
The festive season is a long one in Sweden and these are some of the traditions I enjoy.
December 1 - Christmas Calendar
For many years Swedish TV and radio have featured an advent calendar with different themes for each year. It becomes a "must" for most families at around 6 pm.
The Advent Candles
On the first Sunday in Advent, the first candle is lit, on the second Sunday two candles are litm in the third Sunday three candles are lit, on the forth Sunday the last candle are lit.
December 13 - Lucia Day.
Lucia orginates from Italy but is celebrated every year in Sweden. Early in the dark morning the lussetåg (Lucia parade) headed by the Lucia, Queen of Light, wearing a crown of candles, a white dress with red sash, followed tärnor (her maids), stjärngossar (star boys) and tomtar (Christmas sprites dressed in red and white). They bring lussekatter (saffron buns) and pepparkakor (spicy gingerbread biscuits) and hot coffee and sing traditional songs.
December 24 - Christmas Eve.
This is The Day in Sweden! Julskinka (Christmas ham) is usually the centre of the table served with sweet and sour red cabbage together with other typical smörgåsbord dishes:
- lutfisk (dried ling soaked in lye and then boiled)
- prinskorv (small sausages)
- gravad lax (salmon marinated in dill)
- Janssons frestelse (type of potatoes gratin)
- other types of sausages, cold meats, fish dishes and much more!
The Julgröt is a special Christmas porridge and contains one almond - the person who gets the almond is said to get good luck!
Later in the day, Tomten (Santa Claus / Father Christmas) visits and asks if there are any good children he can give gifts to!
Gifts often have a riddle attached to them to guess the contents. It is also traditional to dance around the Christmas tree singing songs.
Glögg (mulled wine) is the main drink of the festive season.
January 6 - Christmas Tree plundering:
The day when children dance around the Christmas tree as it is derobed and then it is thrown out into the snow!