Christmas is a time of joy and celebration for many people around the world, and Sweden is no exception. Over the centuries, the Swedish people have developed a unique way of celebrating the holiday season as seen by reviewbird.se. There is much to the history of Christmas celebrations in Sweden, from its pagan roots to its modern-day festivities.
The pagan origins of Christmas in Sweden are well known. The first Christian missionaries came to Sweden in 1066. They were followed by other Christian missionaries, such as St Ansgar, who arrived around 835 AD. His mission greatly impacted Swedish society and culture as he introduced Christianity into many areas that had previously been pagan or otherwise non-Christianized, including Uppsala (the capital) and Stockholm (which at that time was called Sigtuna). The custom of Swedish Christmas also similarly came along with this.
Christmas day in Sweden is a national holiday known as juldagen. The Swedish constitution guarantees the right to celebrate Christmas and other religious holidays. Sweden celebrates its traditional Christmas festival with great enthusiasm. People are encouraged to decorate their homes with lights and Christmas trees during this time of year. This tradition dates back hundreds of years when people would light candles on a window ledge or inside an open fireplace to give warmth during the cold winter months.
Only during the last century did the celebration of Swedish Christmas become more secular and commercialized. The traditions are still very much alive, especially in rural areas where people have strong ties to their local churches and priests who help them celebrate the holiday with all its rituals and traditions.
Jultomten is a Swedish word meaning one who brings gifts, similar to Santa Claus in today’s sense. The tradition of Jultomten has been around for centuries and it is celebrated in Sweden all over the country, but especially in Stockholm where there are many traditions associated with this holiday. It is commonly an old man dressed in a Jultomten attire who gives out gifts by hand.
Food and Drinks
The Swedish tradition of eating traditional foods during Christmas time has been passed down from generation to generation since the 1800s when Swedish immigrants came to America.
Some typical Swedish dishes that one can enjoy during this special time are Lutefisk – Fish Balls made out of fish meat, and different pickled herrings served with sour cream and chives. A variety of cold and hot fish dishes are also served.
Other traditional dishes would be (smoked) eel, and smoked salmon accompanied by sauces and dips. Christmas ham (julskinka) with mustard is another important dish.
Beer is the most common beverage for this Christmas meal. The seasonal soft drink julmust is also served during the whole Christmas holiday.
Today, the Swedish people have adapted their traditions to changing times and cultures, and with that their celebrations have evolved over the years. If one examines the various traditions and customs associated with Christmas in Sweden, one can see how the holiday remains an important part of Swedish culture and identity.