I’m still here, are You?
The world will end fanatics were wrong again, who could have guessed that 🙂 🙂 🙂 But for all I know I might be the only one left because I haven’t seen a single person this morning. Deers and voles yes but no humans 🙂 But I’m pretty sure we all still are around.
The big day during Christmas, or Jul (Yule) as we call it is Yule eve. I don’t know why we celebrate that day since almost the entire rest of the world celebrates the 25th. I guess it has to do with us being Lutheran protestants. It seems one always was forbidden to have fun during a religious celebration in this country. But I really don’t know why they bothered since we Swedes kept so much of our pagan past in our traditions. Christianity never really made us 100% Christians to be honest 🙂
The pig is actually a big yule symbol here even if it slowly is disappearing now days. But we still can buy marzipan pigs this time of year, the big ones are often accompanied by a small marzipan yule gnome. The pig has always been a very important animal here, poor people couldn’t afford something bigger and a pig can eat almost anything, so they could just let it out into the forest during the day and the pig had as much food as it needed. Come to think about it, lots of our yule food is made from pigs. The pig was also an important figure in our pagan past. There was this boar up in Valhalla (the fallen warriors hall, where warriors killed in battle could live after they had died) called Särimner that was slaughtered every day and as long as all! bones were saved it resurrected the next morning again just waiting to be slaughtered again.
Another important figure here is the Goat. Most people now days know the goat most because they still are popular as big straw figures. But once it was the one handing out presents at yule eve. The yule goat origins from the goats that pulled Thor’s wagon. They pulled him across the sky and he made the lightning and thunder. For some reason these goats stayed as a yule symbol and after a while they became the ones handing out the presents. I’ve heard that the church said it really was the devil that was forced to do good things one day every year.
The goat soon had to step back to what most of You call Santa Claus. We don’t call him that, we call him the Yule Gnome. The Yule Gnome was a rather small figure in the beginning and he came with a little sled filled with present and the sled was pulled by the goat 🙂 He wasn’t dressed in red in the beginning either if one looks at old Yule cards but he usually wore a red cap. Our Yule Gnome is more or less half Santa and half our old house gnomes but with time he has grown and wears red clothes too. The goat was retired after a while and suddenly the sled was pulled by a horse. Reindeer’s has until recently never pulled the Yule Gnomes sled but Disney has changed that I’m afraid.
Unlike most other countries the Yule Gnome meets the children in their homes, usually before they show Donald Ducks Christmas (a tv show shown here for 54 years I think it is now, something more than 3 million people watch every Yule eve at 3pm. Not bad since we only are nine million people in this country). But traditions can vary, some give out the presents after Donald Duck it all depends on when Santa can come and if he’s sober enough 🙂 Unfortunately people tend to give the gnome a schnapps or two before he leaves and if he visits a lot of families he might get rather drunk in the end. Now days it’s rather popular to have his wife coming with the presents, she is also less happy about drinking schnapps while she’s working 🙂
I’ll continue with more things tomorrow I think. It’s snowing outside but I can see that the sun is trying to break through the clouds. I’ll give more seeds to the birds and I’ll put out more deer food too, I’ve seen a third doe in my garden even if Doris daughter rather nastily chased her away 🙂
Have a great day!