With Christmas around the corner, here at Newbie, we wanted to share some of our favourite festive Swedish traditions that everyone can get involved in, whether you're Swedish or not.
Swedish Christmas Eve - Julafton
Unlike many other countries, the Swedish Christmas takes place on the 24th of December, on Christmas Eve, and Swedish Julafton is a time to come together, enjoy lots of delicious food, and open presents. The festivities often begin in the early afternoon when everyone gathers together. This is then followed by dinner or Julbord, before the visit from Santa himself. The day is then wrapped up with present opening and quality time with the people you love.
Swedish Christmas dinner - Julafton
Julbord is a cherished Swedish tradition, a grand buffet-style dinner for all to savor. This festive feast boasts a delightful array of dishes, including succulent Christmas ham or turkey, mouthwatering meatballs, pickled herring with its briny charm, and the creamy indulgence of Janssons frestelse, ensuring a bountiful and delectable meal that gathers loved ones around the table to celebrate the season together.
Swedish saffron buns - Lussebullar
During the Christmas period, every Swedish person devours a Saffron Bun, sometimes called Lussekatt. The bun is a regular sweet wheat bun with a taste of saffron and raisins, curled into a perfect S-shape before being placed in the oven. This is a definite tradition for a Swedish Christmas, and it's incredibly delicious. Read more about another Swedish Christmas delicacy, gingerbread or as we say in Sweden pepparkakor, here.
Attend a Lucia procession
One of the grandest Christmas celebrations in Sweden is St. Lucia's Day, a magical and reverent occasion that illuminates the darkest days of December. The most commonly told story about St. Lucia is that she was a young Christian girl who, in the year 304, courageously faced martyrdom for her unwavering faith.
In Sweden, the morning of the 13th of December awakens with enchantment, as young Swedish girls step into the role of St. Lucia herself. They don pristine white dresses adorned with candles, symbolizing the radiant light of hope that St. Lucia embodies. With graceful poise, they sing angelic songs that fill schools, workplaces, and homes with a melody of warmth and serenity.
In Sweden, the beloved figure of Santa Claus is no stranger to the hearts of children and adults alike. With a rich history intertwined with Swedish traditions, Santa has become a cherished guest in every Swedish home during the Christmas season. The tradition of welcoming Santa Claus in Sweden often involves leaving out a bowl of creamy rice pudding, known as risgrynsgröt, on the front porch. This heartwarming gesture is a symbol of hospitality and gratitude, a way to show appreciation for the joy and magic that Santa brings to households. As the story goes, Santa, guided by his trusty reindeer, embarks on a magical journey to deliver presents to good children all over Sweden.
Upon his arrival at each home, he finds this bowl of rice pudding left especially for him. The delicious offering fuels him for the rest of his travels, and in return, he leaves behind wonderful gifts that fill the hearts of Swedish children with delight.
The act of sharing a simple bowl of rice pudding with Santa embodies the spirit of giving and the warmth of togetherness, reminding everyone that the true magic of Christmas lies not only in the presents exchanged but in the love and generosity that unites families and communities during this special time of year.
In Sweden, Santa Claus is not just a visitor; he is a treasured part of the Christmas tradition, bringing joy and a sense of wonder to the hearts of all.