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SCANDINAVIAN

CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS

 

ADVENT

   The Christmas season in Scandinavia begins on the First Sunday of Advent, when the first candle in the advent candelabra is lit. On each subsequent Advent Sunday, another candle is lit, so that on the fourth Advent Sunday, the last Sunday before Christmas, all four candles are burning, as in the picture to the right.

SANTA LUCIA

Before sunrise on December 13, Santa Lucia brings light and warmth into the darkness with candles, hot coffee, saffron buns and ginger cookies. The Lucia tradition commemorates a Sicilian saint who was persecuted and killed for her Christian faith in the year 304. Towns, schools and business have their own Lucia parades each year.

ANCIENT HERITAGE

Straw goats are common Christmas decorations in Scandinavia. The tradition can be traced back to the two goats that pulled the wagon of Thor, the powerful Norse god who made thunder and lightning by throwing his hammer in the sky.

Many other present day holiday customs have their origin in pre-Christian traditions. For example, the Vikings used to hang branches of mistletoe outside their homes as a sign of peace and a welcome to strangers.

GARLANDS OF FLAGS

Garlands of national flags are popular tree decorations in the Scandinavian countries.

Wish your friends Merry Christmas in each of the five Scandinavian languages and find Scandinavian Christmas links.

Recipes: Glögg, the hot Scandinavian Christmas drink.

Marzipan candy is fun for kids of all ages, and your creations make yummy gifts.