Sweden officially the Kingdom of Sweden is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. Sweden borders Norway and Finland, and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Øresund.
The Capital and the largest city of this country is Stockholm.
Christmas Celebrations in Sweden :
Christmas begins in Sweden with the Saint Lucia ceremony known as St. Lucia’s Day or St. Lucy’s Day on 13 December. Lucy means ‘light’ so this is a very appropriate name. The celebration comes from stories that were told by Monks who first brought Christianity to Sweden. St Lucia was a young Christian girl who was martyred, killed for her faith, in 304AD. St Lucia’s Day first became widely celebrated in Sweden in the late 1700s. In the morning of the day, the youngest daughter from each family puts on a white robe with a red sash. She would wear candles on her head so she had both her hands free to carry things. She wakes her parents, and serves them with coffee and Lucia buns. The other children accompany her. The boys dressed as star boys in long white shirts and pointed hats. The custom goes back to Lucia, a Christian virgin martyred for her beliefs at Syracuse in the fourth century. Small children sometimes like dressing up as Lucia. Also boys might dress up as ‘Stjärngossar’ (star boys) and girls might be ‘tärnor’ (like Lucia but without the candles).
Candle-lit processions to Church feature Scandinavian Christmases, where, in the home, it is mother who always lights the candles on Christmas Eve. Christmas trees are usually found in Swedish homes two days before Christmas. Decoration may include candles, apples, Swedish flags, small gnomes wearing red tasseled caps, straw ornaments. The houses may filled with red tulips and smell like pepparkakor, which is a heart-star, or goat-shaped gingerbread biscuit. Swedish Julafton, or Christmas Eve dinner may be a smorgasbord, or buffet with julskinka, or Christmas ham, pickled pigs feet,lutfisk, or dried codfish, and many different kinds of sweets. Risgryngrot a special rice porridge, has hidden in it an almond which as tradition has it the person who finds the almond in his or her bowl will marry in the coming year. Christmas trees are usually brought into Swedish homes one or two days before Christmas. Decorations include: candles, apples, Swedish flags, small gnomes and tasseled caps, and straw ornaments.
The house may be filled with red tulips and the smell of pepparkakor – a heart-star, or goat-shaped gingerbread biscuits. After Christmas Eve dinner, a friend or family member dresses up as tomte or Christmas gnome. The tomte, unlike Santa Claus is supposed to live under the floorboards of the house or barn and ride a straw goat. The make-believe tomte, wearing a white beard and dressed in red robes, distributes gifts from his sack. Many are given with funny rhyme that hints at the contents. Swedes eat lye-treated codfish and welcome the Christmas elves and the julbok which is the Christmas goat, who is responsible for the distributing of the presents. In Sweden Jultomten, a little brownie helps Santa Claus give gifts to the children who have been good. On Christmas morning, churches are lit up entirely by candles for the Christmas service. The Julbock (Christmas Goat) has nothing to do with the Tomte (Santa Claus).
In the old days the tomte took care of the farm and lived there but then he had nothing to do with Christmas (then it was the goat). He was mean and hard to work with but he made sure there would be food on the table and looked after all the animals, IF the people on the farm took care of him and behaved well. The day before Christmas Eva this day we prepare for the dinner on Christmas Eva. We bake and cook a lot! We also decorate the tree. We eat “knäck” which is a hard type of fudge with chopped almonds. We put the gift under the tree. On Christmas the celebrations drink “julmust” and eat “knäck” and “pepparkakor” In the evening we eat, among other things, meatballs, small sausages, “Janson´s Frestelse” (potatoes, herring, cream ) Smoked eel different types of herring. After dinner it is time for the presents.
In Swedish people wish each other Merry Christmas saying – God Jul
Wishing all readers Merry Christmas 2019 & Happy New Year 2020 !!!