So today it’s finally here, they day we all been waiting for Christmas Eve (or Julafton as we Swedes call this day). Well that is if You are a Swede, the rest of You are most probably waiting for tomorrow instead. But for some reason and I can’t find that reason anywhere we Swedes have our big Christmas day today. This day is ruled by two things, the Yule Gnome (or Jultomten as we call him) and Disney. You might think that it’s a bit odd that Disney actually is the BIG thing here but we have actually been celebrating Julafton together with Donald Duck and his friends since 1960. Every year they show more or less the same program and we all know what all characters will say and most of us say our favorite lines out loud as they are shown on tv 🙂 Here’s a link that will tell You more about this slightly odd but oh so loved tradition 🙂 Sweden’s Bizarre tradition! But they have censored the old racists parts now days and I think they might be wrong that this tradition not might stay for much longer. You see we brainwash our children 🙂 Most of them are forced to see this with us oldies and even if they might be rebellious in their teens they always come back to watch it when they et older, if not earlier so at least when they have kids of their own so the brainwashing can continue 🙂
We don’t have Santa here either, we have the Yule Gnome (jultomten), he’s now days sort of a mix between Santa Claus and our House or Homestead gnome. He used to be a grumpy little man most likely dressed in grey, perhaps with a read cap and he came to the homes to visit the families to bring presents. Back in the days he had a goat that pulled a small sled. Later on the goat was replaced by a horse and the gnome became nicer and wore read clothes. Now days he seems to have reindeer instead, like Santa has. But the goat isn’t gone, he’s still one of the most important symbols, actually before Jultomten gave away the presents it was the Yule Goat (julbocken) that came with the presents.
Julbocken is actually a remain from the old Norse religion and was one of the goats pulling the Norse god Thor’s wagon. So the goat has been with us for quite some time now. They even build the biggest julbock in the world in the Swedish city Gävle. The only reason it’s known outside Sweden is that it is burnt down almost every year 🙂 I’ve heard that it now days even is possible to bet on when it will burn down 🙂 🙂 🙂 The habit of having Christmas tree or Julgran as we call it (Yule Spruce) is fairly young amongst the common people but they had it already at 1741 in a mansion in a part of Sweden called Södermanland. But there was a tradition of having a Julträd (actually Christmas tree 🙂 ) earlier than that. It was usually a small spruce or a Crabapple tree (well bush is most likely more true) and they hang apples and perhaps paper decorations in it. They could have burning candles in it if it was a spruce they used but never if it was an apple tree (don’t ask me why, they don’t explain why You see 🙂 ) If it was an apple tree it was called Julapel (Yule apple), easy enough to remember 🙂
The traditions vary slightly but mostly we have our Yule board around noon so we are finished before Donald Duck and his friends wish You a Merry Christmas. That program is way to important to be disturbed by something so common as food 🙂 After that program the tension starts to build up, the Yule Gnome is on his way! Unfortunately there’s a custom to give the gnome a schnaps after his work is done and if one belongs to the last families to see him the gnome can be very jolly and nasty drunk 🙂 So now days it’s quite possible that it is his wife that comes instead, Tomtemor (The Gnome Mother)! It seems that women are much better on saying NO! to that schnaps and the children are just as happy if she comes. Not only is she sober she’s also much easier to like than a loud, fat, drunk man 🙂 I was terrified when he came and was so relived when I realised the he wasn’t real, just a man dressed in red with this horrible mask over his face 🙂 🙂
I have been Jultomten several times and people wanted me to come because I can say no to schnaps and isn’t that loud towards small children. I mean this is a day that should be something nice to remember, not a day to fear 🙂 The stories I could tell about those times 🙂 If I post anything tomorrow it will be about the House gnome, a very important being in the old days.
My ham is done and it’s not the best ham I’ve had but far from the worst one. So now I’ll fry the meat balls and the Prince sausages. Unlike 99% of the Swedish population I can’t stand pickled herring or Salmon which is either smoked or cured so that’s nothing I’ll have ever 🙂 But I think I’ll have most of everything else. I also have all the yummy things I got from Joyce 🙂 I opened up all the packages this morning and both my dogs and I are very happy 🙂 Thank You Joyce! I love it all 🙂
I wish You all a Good Yule!