First Riktigt Christmas in Stockholm
How excited can one be when you get to pick your first Christmas tree..EVvvvvERr!
It was about more than ten years ago since I bought my very own, first, Christmas tree. It was really sweet of my ex-boyfriend to allow me to go nuts with Christmas....From getting the tree to the decorations all in one evening after my Swedish class...
The image that I always have in my mind as a child growing up in this little island smack on the Equator is that Christmas comes with snow, and snowman and Santa Claus..Ok. I don't believe Santa Claus exists but I do believe that there is a chance that he might exist just like how I believe in the existence of fairies and unicorns. I'm crazy like that! I do know that Santa Claus you see at shopping malls is just a man dressed in a costume and with a big sack of presents on his back. As for the flying reindeers, I am looking forward to see it some day.
This tree only cost me 200SEK which was definitely a huge bargain. Look at how full it was! Imagine "a walking tree" from Hötorget to Blackeberg! Hehehehe....! I mean, I didn't walk from Hötorget to Blackeberg. I took the tunnelbanan. The attention I received from the rest of the commuters were just too hilarious.
Christmas in Sweden
Jul, pronounced like the word "yule", means Christmas. Unlike anywhere in the world I know, Jul is celebrated on the 24th of December, julafton (Christmas Eve). Everyone would gather at one place; usually the elder's or a close family member. Like Eid, Chinese New Year and Deepavali, julafton is a reunion of families and close friends. Every household would be decorated with ornaments depicting winter, Christmas cards, one or two pots of red poinsettias , hyacinths and the most important, a julgran (Christmas tree).
The Swedes and Kalle Anke At 3pm on this day, the whole of Sweden would gather in front of the television to watch
Kalle Ankas och Hans Vänner önskar God Jul (Donald Duck and His Friends wish You a Merry Christmas) on SVT1 . I was told that this particular Disney's special called "From All of Us to You" has evolved into a Swedish tradition since the 1960s.
You'd be surprise to know that in Sweden, Donald Duck is more popular than Mickey Mouse...but this is for a discussion on another day...
Directed by Jack Hannah, "From All of Us to You" is an animated Christmas Special produced as part of Walt Disney Presents series. It was first aired in December 19, 1958.
Food...Glorious Swedish Food!
A spread of Smörgåsbord or julbord (some would say) is HERREGUD!! YUMMY!! The table is set with traditional Swedish dishes including Swedish meatballs, Janssons fretelse, gravlax, lussekatter, christmas ham, variety of pickled herrings, potatoes, variety of salads, peppakakor, snaps and GLÖGG!! and JULMUST and not forgetting the pepparkakshus (gingerbread house) which is not really for eating, more of a centre piece on the table.
For many, julmarknad or Christmas market is a significant part of Christmas. It's just like the Bazaar Ramadan at Geylang Serai during the fasting month for the Muslims or the bazaar at Chinatown during the Chinese New Year celebration. Unfortunately this year, 2020, things had to be done differently to prevent further spread of the Covid virus.
This is a video which I made in 2014 about Julmarknad at Kungsträgården.
I could go on and on about my first Swedish Christmas but I ought to keep some for my next podcast episodes or I would not have anything else to talk about...haha!
All in all...I am very grateful to my ex-boyfriend and his family for introducing and sharing the Swedish culture and traditions with me during the course of our relationship. We are still friends though.
And with that....
Önskar jag en riktigt God Jul, allihopa! Älskar er!!