Follow Scandinavia and the World: Facebook   Twitter   Tumblr  

Christmas Traditions

Northern Lights Poster

You can now support SatW via Patreon


Christmas Traditions

The boys are here dressed as a horrifying mix of various Scandinavian Christmas traditions.

The goat costumes are from the Christmas billy-goat. It’s the oldest Christmas tradition in Scandinavia, and most likely predates Christianity, and is therefore a heathen tradition that was simply absorbed by the new religion in these parts of the world. Usually it’s made of straw but in some families people even dress up as it.

The candles are from Santa Lucia procession A Swedish tradition that has spread to the rest of Scandinavia, though it remains most popular in Sweden where girls from all over the country compete to become the Lucia of the year.

And finally the flags as decoration on the tree is a Danish tradition that started during the Nazi’s time in Denmark where the Danes weren’t allowed to use their flag, and therefore used it as a Christmas decoration. This later spread to the rest of Scandinavia.

In the December calendar picture on the traditions are separated, with Denmark showing of his beloved Christmas beer, and added Finland as Santa because in Finland they take Santa very seriously, and Iceland with a baby doll in his mouth because in Iceland they have 13 Santas and they don’t just give naughty kids coal, their mother eats them! (The picture isn’t up yet, but will be tomorrow).

29th November 2010

15 days ago #9325243        

Noone dresses up as billy-goats anymore :/ Probably more than a hundred years ago that was common, I think. They do that in an old book by Elsa Bescow.


15 F
2 months ago #9302724        

That is scary.

5 months ago #9260596        

@Amerikhastan you to, my brother?


22 M
6 months ago #9235143        

yup this some up how we do xmes

7 months ago #9208508        

No problem. Just glad to sate your curiosity. ;)

7 months ago #9208469        

@Bloodblender: That's quite fascinating. Thanks a bunch. :)

8 months ago #9191351        

Glad to hear the interest :)
When monks came to christen Scandinavia, they had to make pagan celebrations into christian rather than forbid them, as the traditional celebrations were more important to peope, than wich god was worshiped. The same happened in other places in Europe, and the only reason why the birth of Christ is celebrated the 25:th december is becouse the old romans celebrated the winter solstice as the greatest hollyday before emperor Konstatin made chrirstianity the official religion of the empire. Scandinavians did the same, as a big feast and ritual for the return of the sun, but the winter solstice had changed date from the 25:th to the 23:rd. A compromise was made, in Sweden at least, making the 24:th the date of Jul (we dont call it kristusmässa (swedish for christmas) as much of the pagan tradition still remain). The only hollyday that christianity did not manage to christianize was "midsommar" mid summer, with its focus on fertelity and the joy of life, things that christianity is not known to stand for.
One of the celebrations that did become fully christianize was the "lussande" (I dont know if it was known by that name at the time). It had earlier been a time when the younger by tradition made pranks that made them seem like ghasts in order to frighten others, mostly the elderly. It was a time know for the hightened activity of the dead, but not as much as Valborg. However, Valborg (a hollyday in late spring) often consisted of a friendlier relationship between the dead and the living, and was (and is) about renewal. Fot the lussande, the monks found a replacement in the fact that the italian saint Lucia was known to have died during the same day. I can not tell you the whole story (tho I think it may be found on the net somwhere) but the short version is that she was a girl of a rich family, who one night in the winter had got enough of seeing people starving and freezing to death, so she went out and gave of her wealth to the poor. This was not appreciated by the higher ups, and in the end she was killed with a sword throu the gut. In Sweden, every year a teen girl is elected to be Lucia (a bit like an avatar of her) to with a train of following tärnor (girls supposed to be angels) and "star-lads" singing specific lucia-songs. Many smaller lucia-trains are aranged in schools, working places, prisons, etc. There is also a specific bun with a specific shape that is eaten during this hollyday, wich have also later passed on to the Jul celebration wich come a few weeks later.

8 months ago #9190033        

@Bloodblender: Please tell us more, in detail. It honestly does sound fascinating.

9 months ago #9160560        

Like most traditions, the Lucia celebration was originaly pagan, but changed into christianity. That is the only reason why we celebrate an italian saint in the North. Just like Valborg it was from the begining a nordic version of All Hallows Eve; a day when the worlds of the living and the dead were said to cross paths.

9 months ago #9160557        

@Amerikhastan @TimMogens
Its the goat costume. Funny enough, before Jultomten (our version of Santa Claus, wich by the way is the mix between S:t Nicolaus and the scandinavian kind of housegods known as tomtar) came into scandinavian tradition, the one who came with the presents was Julbocken (the Yule-(male)goat), wich was in fact Satan. We still have male goats made from straw and bound with red ribbons as decoration during Jul.

Add comment: Please Sign in or create an accout to comment.

View all 635 comments

Share Scandinavia and the World:

Latest comic in your News Feed:

Copyright © 2009-2015 Scandinavia and the World | reddit/r/SatWcomic | Coded by Dayvi | Privacy Policy

Mepsu     Scandinavia and the World     Romantically Apocalyptic     StupidFox     Acero Tiburon     Awut     Niels     Humon Comics     Manala Next Door     Forum Peeps