Another year is about to get over with lights of christmas. As in my earlier post, I was super excited with the first snow in my city. But there is no much snow after that till christmas 😦 However there is so much new and fun to see at this time in Sweden.
Personally I have not celebrated this festival as such. However this year turned out to be different for me and I had Christmas bash too.
Christmas is called ‘Jul’ and from that I learned many new Swedish words for this festival like ‘Julgran'(christmas tee), Jultomte (Santa claus) etc. Many of the things are similar to other western countries. However I did found some unique aspects here. Things that clicked with me instantly are ‘Adventsljusstake’, ‘Glögg’ and ‘pepparkakor‘.
‘Advent’ Sunday is eagerly awaited by Swedish people which is a sign that the Christmas is coming. It is a custom to light a candle every Sunday during Advent time. Adventljusstake-‘advent candles‘ are lit in each and every windows to welcome this festive month. This country has minimal daylight in December and these lights not only set up the perfect mood but also keep away the dark bay. It is so amazing to see equivalent candle triangles in all the houses and also in office / shop windows. The city gets decorated like a bride from the first Sunday and looks stunning for till new year eve.
During Advent, there is a special TV show called ‘JulKalender’ with 24 episodes. That is also considered as countdown of Christmas. This year, the show was ‘Tusen år till julafton’ that talked about 1000 years of Swedish history from now in each episode.
Shopping is a major activity of the month as newspapers and mailboxes are filling up with christmas gift ideas and discounts. There are several Christmas markets during advent weekends in city areas.
Saint Lucy’s Day is one of the biggest celebration in Sweden on 13th December in respect of St. Lucia. It is celebrated by a girl in white gown, red sash on waist and a crown of candles who would lead the procession.
According to old Julian Calender, 13 December was the shortest day of the year. Hence it is believed that Lucia brings light to the land.
Glögg and Julmust
Glögg is as tasty as it is difficult to pronounce. This muled wine prepared with special spices, sugar and served warm. It is a special christmas drink and I really enjoyed it in this cold weather. I tasted glögg without alchohol but it is available with portion of alchohol also.
Julmust is another special drink in this season which is a good option over Pepsi, coca cola or any such drinks. It is very much Swedish in taste and consumed in bulk.
This special cookies have become my favorite by now. They are baked with cinnamon and come in various interesting shapes. A classic Jul snack that I have been consuming like crazy for the whole month.
The traditional Swedish food feast is served on Christams eve (24th December as they celebrate it in advance) and also through out December month. All the restaurants come up with Julbord (Literally means ‘Christmas table’) that consist of five course meal with. It is a tradition to organize Julbord in every work team and activity groups during advent days. The main feast is celebrated with family on Christmas eve.
This is a nice link to see special Julbord dishes: http://www.thelocal.se/galleries/lifestyle/2240/1
I am not the one who could relish it much as I am a vegetarian and most of the dishes do not fit into that category. However it is an awesome opportunity to make their belly tight who enjoy non-vegetarian food.
Sweden is little silent country compared to other places and I think the same is reflected in the celebrations also. I felt that the festive season was more cozy, beautiful and relaxing instead of being jaunty and loud.