Saturday, December 11, 2010

More Swedish Christmas Traditions

Swedish Christmas Traditions ... Part 3

Dancing around the Christmas tree occurs on Christmas day. The family will dance in circles around the tree singing Christmas songs. This is something I've never witnesses myself. Our tree is always up against a corner so there is no room for dancing (also, our neighbors would think we were pagans).

The Christmas buffet is a big deal. You buy a seat somewhere and there will be hundreds of people eating from this HUGE buffet filled with things like meatballs, potatoes, lutefisk, ham, porridge, wart bread, smoked sausages, ribs, herring, smoked salmon, gravlax, beet salad, red cabbage, head cheese and lets not forget the grilled pigs head with an apple in it's mouth for the centerpiece.

Christmas drinks include different bock style beers (usually darker and sweeter), aquavit (strong liquor) - which Andreas says is the only way you are able to eat gravlax, plenty of aquavit, because it's so disgusting. Incidentally, gravlax is salmon that has been buried underground for so long that it's started to rot - yum! Then there is Julmust, which is Christmas soda that you can only buy it around Christmas and Easter, although at Easter time it is called Paaskmust. We are actually able to get Julmust at Stabo. Glögg, of course, is spiced wine. Hornbacher's actually has this stocked so we don't have to get it at Stabo.

I briefly mentioned the Christmas Goat before. The Christmas Goat is the Santa Claus character that comes and delivers the presents to the children. But this was an "olden days" tradition.

A little more to mention about Lucia:

Star boys - boys with stars in their hands, cone shaped hats with stars, dressed in white
Gingerbread boys - dressed in gingerbread costumes
Lucia - the most beautiful girl gets picked (and I thought crowning a homecoming queen was a good way to give girls a complex)
Girls that were not chosen as Lucia, wear the same white dress, red silk scarf, lights in their hands, but no crown. They will generally go to retirement homes or hospitals and serve saffron buns and coffee.

The boys go with the girls and they sing Christmas carols. This all takes place the morning of Lucia.

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