swedish traditions
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swedish traditions

Swedish Traditions and Festivities

One of the things I love most about Sweden are the magnificent festivities, traditions and special occasions. What an opportunity to share love, laughter and magnificent food – in abundance. We’d like to share some of these Swedish special events and traditions with you. Enjoy this little bit of Swedish Soul.

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“God jul!” Merry Christmas!

Christmas celebrations begin as early as November in Sweden, when shops and city streets are decorated with festive lighting, giant Christmas trees are put up in town squares and shops reveal their Christmas wares and windows.

Advent Sunday marks the real count-down and children open the first window of their advent calendars. Homes are decorated with Christmas trees, red tablecloths, candles, straw figures and little gnomes. Candles are lit and wreaths laid on family graves.

Even the birds get a special sheaf of grain hung up for them to feast on. It is a time of thin ginger biscuits and saffron bread, a new candle being lit with each passing Sunday and the body and soul kept warm and glowing with glögg, a hot mulled wine spiced with nuts, raisins and cloves. Perfect for dark, cold Swedish winter nights.

Of course, a great Christmas feast or Smörgåsbord is enjoyed by all on Christmas Eve. The most popular dishes being veal brawn, home made sausage, various kinds of pickled herring, liver pâté, pickled cabbage, meatballs, “Jansson’s Temptation” (potato gratin with pickled herring) and much longed for leg of ham followed by “lutfisk” (dried ling previously soaked in rye), beetroot salad and the grande finale of rice pudding. Dipping-in-the-pot, root beer, glögg and a shot or two of Schnapps all make for a very merry Christmas indeed.

As the greatest festivity of the year, it is family orientated with special emphasis being placed on the children. Jultomten drops off his gifts to all on Christmas Eve. Or as he is better known in Scandinavian countries – “Tomte”.

“Tomte” originates from a dwarfish guardian of the farm. In the 1880s an artist painted “Tomte” as half little goblin and half Father Christmas, immortalizing him as Sweden’s most favoured Christmas symbol.

December 25 begins with Christmas matins or “Julottan”, a daybreak visit to Church and then home again for more of the same feasting, fellowship and much ho ho ho.

Stockholms Old Town at Christmas

Christmas Tree in the Famous Liseberg Markets


Christmas Candles lining
the streets in Gustov Adolf Torg

Liseberg Markets at Christmas

Miss Maud Christmas Smörgåsbord Dinner


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