Scandinavia and the World
Christmas Traditions

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).

30th November 2010

Tagged in Denmark Vatican Sweden Norway

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3 months ago #9342864        

The Scandinavians know how to do Yule right!

4 months ago #9339881        

@KattenSune There is still the traditions doing "Julebukk" where I live. People would dress up and go from house to house and sing christmas songs for candy. Kinda like a nicer version of halloween. I haven't heard of someone dressing like goats, but in kindergarden we were dressed in sacking bags with holes for the head and arms.

4 months ago #9336124        


5 months 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
6 months ago #9302724        

That is scary.

9 months ago #9260596        

@Amerikhastan you to, my brother?


22 M
10 months ago #9235143        

yup this some up how we do xmes

12 months ago #9208508        

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

12 months ago #9208469        

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

1 year 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.

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