On this Christmas Eve, the opportunity is a dream to tell you about the Christmas spirit in Sweden and its traditions which make this time of year as warm as it is festive!
If there is one place on Earth where the spirit of Christmas is honored and celebrated, it is my home in Sweden. Here, Christmas lasts an entire month. Moreover, the festivities begin with the decorated facades of the houses adorned with pretty candlesticks. This is the tradition. Every Sunday in December, a new Advent candle is lit to wait until the long-awaited day of gifts. The door, meanwhile, is guarded by the julbock, the Christmas goat, an ancestral symbol of this winter period in the Scandinavian countries.
Nowadays, the julbock has deserted the steps to enter the houses. Most often, it is a figurine with his effigy that adorns the tree at the top of which shines a gold-colored star, while the branches of the conifer run paper garlands made in family.
It is also in tribes that we walk the traditional Christmas market. One of the most famous is the one in Stockholm, my favorite. Is the perfect address to enjoy a good glögg, the traditional spiced mulled wine. A delight and perfect to warm up in cold weather, especially in Saint Lucia in December 13, which strikes the longest night of winter.
Yes, Saint Lucia is a must-see holiday in Sweden, celebrating the return of light after a long period of darkness. Wreaths of candles and woven fir trees, concerts and saffron cakes are the main protagonists of this day as celebrated as Christmas!
Then when December 25th arrives, the day of Tomten, what we call Santa Claus in Sweden, it is first in the kitchen that we get busy to bake the spice cakes and famous pepparkakor, these little ginger cookies, meticulously sculpted in the shape of a star or a man. When it comes to savory bites, herring fillets, beet salad, gravlax - which the whole world envies us - follow one another on the table, and the famous Christmas ham, Julskinka, for which each family has its own recipe. All these flavors are happily washed down with a nice glass of schnapps for the grown-ups and lemonade for the little ones.
Tchin! And merry Christmas to all! God Jul!