Swedish Traditions ... (as I promised)
part 1 ... LUCIA
I'm no expert, but this is what I know about Lucia:
Every town crowns it's own Lucia. I gather it's a pretty big deal for the girl who gets to be Lucia. She dresses up in a white dress with a crown of candles on her head, red silk tie around her waist. I'm going to have to get Andreas to give me a background to the story of Lucia because the one from the book I have is a little confusing. "The name comes from the Italian saint, Lucia, but nobody knows how she became a part of Swedish Christmas celebrations" - says my book. But, on the morning of December 13th, Lucia comes with coffee and saffron buns (or Lucia Buns). I think it also says in there somewhere about how the kids actually go trick-or-treating (so to speak) the night before Lucia.
Part 2 ... DECORATIONS
Christmas crackers, braided hearts, straw crafts, little gnomes & candelabras (these are the things that come to mind when I think Swedish Christmas).
Braided hearts are made from 2 colors of construction paper. And to describe them is pretty self explanatory, it's a heart shape and the colors are braided. I'm not very good at making these. But they are so cute. The Christmas crackers are made from tissue paper. We rolled ours around a toilet paper tube, stuffed candy in the tube and then tied the ends and cut them into strips, like a pom pom. Very cool.
I showed you our Christmas goat in the last post. But those aren't the only straw decorations you might see. Hearts and stars are quite common as well.
We have a few little figures of gnomes that come out with our Christmas decor. I believe they are called, tomte? Or maybe that's just santa. I'm not quite sure. Andreas will probably have a hay day pointing out all my mistakes here. Anyway, they are a lot different from our typical American Santa decorations. The ones we have are just a round red body, white or grey beard and red hat. We also have some made from yarn. They are very basic but that is what I think is so cool about them. Not overdone and lavish.
What else...oh yeah, candelabras. These you will find in every home as well. I know this for a fact because when we lived in Denmark, there was a least one window per home that had one lit. We bought one but can't use it because we can't find our little outlet adapter thinger. It's so beautiful. You can find this and other cool Scandinavian Christmas stuff at Stabo in the mall - but it's on the spendy side.
Next time, I think I'll talk about the food we usually prepare. We have a Swedish feast every Christmas and it's wonderful, believe me! My favorite are the nutmeg pork patties, but that's all I'm giving away for now ;)
'til next time...God Jul!