Journey to see Sweden’s Queen of Light


Swedish Christmas traditions and customs aren’t completely alien to us Germans. Indeed, we celebrate Julklapp (Jul = Christmas, klapp = knock) and a Swedish take on Glühwein is on offer at most Christmas markets in the form of “Glögg”. However, Sweden has something more to offer at Christmas time. A particularly wonderful Swedish custom and a highlight of the Advent period is the Lucia Festival on 13th December, the day for commemorating Saint Lucy. The Festival of Lights is amongst Sweden’s most important national holidays and ought to spread light and joy throughout the dark days of winter.

Lucia’s an Early Bird

Lucia Performance

The festivities amongst the family begin early in the morning; the eldest daughter is traditionally embodying Lucia. Dressed in a white robe with a red band around her waist and a wreath decorated with candles on her head, she brings her family breakfast in bed. This consists of traditional Lucia Festival specialities: Iussenkatter, a yeast pastry flavoured with saffron, pepparkakor (gingerbread) and Glögg (an alcohol-free version given the early start!). A Lucia is chosen in each town, and celebrations and candlelit processions take place. Boys and girls follow Lucia, donning candles as well as Christmas gnomes. There is also singing while Iussekatter und pepparkakor are shared amongst the crowds. The greatest celebrations, as well as the crowning of Sweden’s official Lucia, take place at the open-air Skansen Museum in Stockholm. The Lucia Festival is an unforgettable experience for visitors too and very special in the run-up to Christmas.

Festive Joy

Christmas market Stortorget in Stockhom

Swedes everywhere fight back against the darkness of December with candles, lanterns and chains of lights throughout the Advent period. The whole of Sweden gleams in Christmas splendour. Wonderful Christmas markets, where you can buy arts and crafts and Christmas treats, can be found in the larger towns. Among the most popular, for example, is the Christmas market on Stortorget square in Stockholm’s old town, which is one of Sweden’s oldest Christmas markets. Not to mention the Christmas market in Sweden’s largest amusement park Liseberg, in the city of Göteburg. The park is transformed into a glistening festive wonderland, with Christmas lights, ice ballet, carousels, Glögg and numerous stalls.
There are daily flights from Berlin direct to Stockholm with Norwegian, easyJet or SAS, as well as direct to Göteburg with easyJet or SAS and weekly flights direct to Åre Östersund with easyJet.

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