Christmas is one of the most significant occasions celebrated worldwide. It is observed with great fun and fervor; where caroling, feasting and gift-giving form a major role. Christmas in Sweden is drawn back to the 4th century at Syracuse. Lucia, a Christian virgin, sacrificed herself for her pious faith in Christianity. Since then, Swedish Christmas starts with the Saint Lucia ceremony to honor Lucia. The traditional thanksgiving for the return of the sun is represented through this ceremony. Read on to know the customs and traditions of Swedish Christmas.
Christmas Celebrations in Sweden
Swedish Christmas is more about traditions, romance and vibrancies. The festival starts from 13 December, to mark Saint Lucia's day. At dawn, the youngest daughter of every family dresses up in white robe, with a red sash around the waist and an evergreen crown on the head. The crown has tall, lit candles attached to it. She, then, wakes her parents and serves them with Lucia buns and coffee or mulled wine. The younger boys dress as star boys, wearing long white shirts and pointed hats.
Christmas trees are brought home two days before only. Candles, apples, Swedish flags, straw ornaments and small gnomes wearing red tasseled caps are used decorate the tree. The houses are decorated with red tulips, Pepparkakor (heart-star biscuits) and goat-shaped gingerbread biscuits. Julafton is the name given to Swedish Christmas Eve. The Christmas feast is a smorgasbord or buffet that includes julskinka or Christmas ham, pickled pigs feet, lutfisk or dried codfish. The dessert is a special rice porridge, Risgryngrot, which has an almond hidden in. It is a belief that whoever finds the almond in his/her bowl will get married in the year ahead.
On Christmas, one of the friends or family members dresses up as tomte or Christmas gnome, complete with a white beard and red robe to represent the Santa Claus. Swedes greet "God Jul and (Och) Ett Got Nytt Ar" that means "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" to one another. Christmas in Sweden is a time for family reunions and merrymaking. The pungent smells of the wine and the reek fill up the atmosphere. Every candle lit on the advent wreath makes it the perfect festival for the Swedish people.