Sunday, December 13, 2009

God Jul

My father was Swedish, and Mom was determined that her kids should know about their ethnic heritage, so we got to find out about Christmas customs in Sweden. The first is that "Merry Christmas" in Swedish is "God Jul." Jul, by the way is pronounced as "Yule."

The second of these is Saint Lucia Day, which everyone I knew called "Little Christmas." It was always celebrated on the 15th of December when I was a kid, but when I looked on the internet, everywhere I checked insisted unanimously that it was on the 13th.

I remember imagining around the middle of December that I would dress up in the white robe and wear a crown of candles and bring my parents breakfast in bed. Not having a white robe, and especially not having a crown of candles, I never actually did it, and gave up on the idea before my teens.

One of the most memorable things was one year during the Christmas season, we went to Old Swedes Church in Philadelphia, where they had a fabulous Swedish Christmas set up, and my sister and I (along with our parents) got to be presented to the Kink of Sweden. I was very impressed with him, and I overheard him talking to someone else saying that he was very impressed with Lynn and I. We behaved ourselves and acted like very short adults in his presence, and he was amazed at our manners, composure, and the general way we conducted ourselves.

Mom found several shops that were essentially Swedish, and we shopped there at Christmas. I loved the Christmas cards. Most of them showed Saint Lucia, and all of them seemed to show the Tomte, although I know they called it by a different name even though I can't remember what that was (this was 60 years ago).

The Christmas cards were so pretty, looking like a the illustrations from an especially good child's fairy tale book. Many of them showed Saint Lucia in her white robe with a tray of food for her parents, surrounded by the Tomte, or elves in their little red jackets, looking like miniature versions of Santa. This particular card isn't anywhere near as nice as the ones we bought and sent at Christmas!
If you're a knitter and a fan of Elizabeth Zimmerman, you'll remember theses little people from her Tomten Jacket published in The Opinionated Knitter. To write the plural of tomte, you add an "n" not an "s." This pattern was resized for adults by Jared Flood and featured on his blog, Brooklyn Tweed.


I hope you got to enjoy all the Doctor Who on BBC in America yesterday. If you missed it and you're quick, you can catch some of it being rebroadcast today.

Next week, on Saturday, they'll be replaying most of what was on yesterday, and also some specials about the making of Doctor Who, and the premier of the newest special to hit the US, The Waters of Mars. Don't miss it! I can't wait! It's obvious that they're giving me an early Christmas present!

ABC Family is going overboard on the Christmas movie theme today, and probably every day until Christmas. If you have kids (or if you are a big kid, like me), they'll love it.

I really have to get back to knitting Christmas presents!

Hope you had a great weekend! Enjoy what's left of it!

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