More about old traditions.
The Christmas tree tradition here in Sweden is like so many other traditions here imported from Germany. They were small trees in the beginning and stood either on a table or hung from a hook in the roof. It started in the richer homes sometime during the late 19th century and it took some time until even the most poor had them too. The poor normally decorated them with red apples but in even poorer homes where they couldn’t afford apples it happened that they wrapped potatoes in silk paper and hang them in the tree. They were also decorated with small candles but they usually didn’t light them more than a few times.
What most people don’t know is that we had a similar tradition here before the Christmas tree ( well we actually call them Yule spruces to be correct) arrived, we had Yule trees or Yule apple trees. The Yule tree was usually a spruce where most branches and twigs were removed except for those in the top. Some had big ones out in front of their entrances but many had them indoors as well. They too were decorated but they never had any candles. In some places they used crab apple trees instead and I guess they started to green up before Yule if they brought them in early enough.
Gnomes have always and still is I guess very important in our culture. They lived at the farms and saw to that the farmers took care of both homes and animals in the best way they could. If they liked the farmer they could help with taking care of things but if the gnome thought the farmer and his family was lazy and mistreated the animals he usually punished them, he even could burn down the whole place.
So They did what they could to be friends with him and every Yule they made him lots of porridge with butter milk and placed a huge bowl in the stable (I know people who still do that). If they felt the urge to be even more kind they could give him a present as well but not new and fine clothes. The gnome them could get the idea that he looked to fine to work at all🙂🙂🙂
On Yule eve evening the farmer went out to the stable and gave all the animals extra food, he also gave the wild animals something extra as well like extra oat sheaves to the birds. He knew this would please the gnome and there was also another very important reason. The night towards the 25th was extra magical and all the animals could talk that night. He really didn’t want the animals to gather up against him did he🙂🙂🙂
My cottage smells nice of newly baked bread today. The jelly making yesterday failed totally and the best I can say about it is that it can be called rather nicely colored and wonderfully tasting syrup🙂🙂🙂 I have to buy pectin and re boil it again. But I used some of it when I baked my rye rosemary bread and it do taste even better than usual🙂 Perhaps I just should save it like it is and use it for bread baking?