Friday, January 6, 2012

My Childhood Christmas In Sweden -- At The End Of The Season Children Plunder Their Trees

From the Huntington Hotel, Pasadena, CA -- Much larger than those we "robbed."

I forgot I was going to post about how Christmas ended for a child in mid-20th century Sweden. This is a an edited copy of part of a post from 2010.  Oh, what fun it was during my childhood when I got to go to parties at my friend's homes where we children would plunder the Christmas trees. This was called julgransplundring. Epiphany, also called trettondags jul (13 days after Christmas) in Sweden, is observed as a holiday there on January 6. Between  this day and something called 20-day Knut we would be invited to these parties. (Each day in the Swedish calendar has a name assigned and the name day of Knut falls 20 days after Christmas.)  In Sweden, 20-day Knut is the formal end of the Christmas holiday season. Or so it was when I was a child there. Sort of backwards from here where it begins at Thanksgiving and ends at Christmas. Upon our arrival at our friend's home we would find the Christmas tree dressed anew with fresh candies and cookies. There was something called, smaellkarameller, a  tube with candies inside, wrapped in silk paper with frilly ends that hung in the tree. You pulled each end and it went "bang" and all the candy fell out. All the children would dance around the tree, something called ring dance; eat, play games, and then set about robbing the tree of all the goodies. When the tree was empty, we would drag it outside and put it in the yard for the grownups to dispose of. And then we went home, happy with our loot of candies, cookies, nuts and a fruit or two in our goodies bags. Looking back, I think this was a lovely way for a child to say goodbye to Christmas, as it ended on a very high note indeed.  


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