24 December 2009

Swedish Christmas holidays

Swedish red cottage in snow. Photo: Tore Larsson

In Sweden Christmas is the most important holiday of the year, maybe because we need some light and festivities during the long, dark and cold winter. Even before the Swedes were christened a big feast was celebrated at the winter solstice.

This year my husband and I have travelled from our home in Spain to spend the holiday with the family. We have experienced snow for the first time in ten years, and the temperature has been down to -15°C. Most Swedes like the snow, because of the light it brings during this dark season. Everything looks clean and fresh with the snow, but you have to bundle up with warm clothes and thread carefully when you go out.

Not only is Christmas the most important Swedish holiday, but today, Christmas Eve, is also the most important day of Christmas. Families get together to eat too much traditional food, and Santa Claus comes with presents. But many prefer an alternative Christmas, with less food and few or no presents, either they spend it with family or friends or join a gathering arranged by an organization.

I wish you all a happy and peaceful Christmas!