Saturday, December 5, 2009


Four weeks before Christmas (beginning on the first Sunday in advent), Swedes put electric candelabra in their windows and keep them on all night and also during darker days. Many have a candelabra in every window. Since Swedes rarely pull their curtains at night, it is beautiful to walk the streets and see the many lit candelabra. Though most Swedes are not particularly religious, they do enjoy the candlelights in the dark of the long winter.

"Advent is the beginning of the ecclesiastical year, and it also marks the start of Christmas festivities in Sweden. More people visit Swedish churches on the first Sunday of Advent than any other time of year; they come to sing the well-known Yuletide hymns. This first Sunday is also the day communities decorate their streets and squares with wreaths, garlands, lights and Christmas trees. At home, Swedes light one candle on each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, in special four-pronged candelabra.

Another way of counting the days until Christmas is the Advent calendar, a card with "windows" that you open, one by one, for each passing day until Christmas Eve. These calendars, which were introduced as late as the 1930s, have become increasingly popular. Swedish radio and television broadcast daily Advent programs for children based on a specially published calendar.
During Advent many people hang luminous stars of paper, straw or perforated metal in their windows. Introduced from Germany around 1910, these stars have become a central feature of Swedish Advent celebrations."
Source: "Traditional Festivities in Sweden"; Author: Ingemar Liman; Published by: The Swedish Institute, ISBN 91-520-0113-X

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