First of Advent

With only four Sundays to go before Christmas eve Swedes are getting ready to start the holiday. While Americans celebrate Thanksgiving and Black Friday (which by the way I have seen many ads for here this year as well, for the first time ever, but mostly companies selling on the Internet) people here are getting their outdoor Christmas lights and their Advent stars and candlesticks out. (I will probably post more pictures later on, because it is not really right to have them lit before the day before the first of Advent), although some cheat 🙂 It is dark from about 3.30pm until approx. 8, so it’s understandable…

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Another thing about this particular weekend is that in many cities/towns/villages the shops are open and many serve their costumers mulled wine and Swedish gingerbread cookies while they do the Christmas shopping. There are also many small stalls (almost like a small winter fair) with lotteries, mulled wine, home baked etc. quite cozy actually!!

Right now I’m in the middle of my own little bake off…. Trying to get everything done for tomorrow’s scout sales.

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Happy first of Advent!!!

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All saints day (November 1st)

This day is usually spent with the family and we remember those who are no longer with us by going to the cemetery to prepare the graves for the winter. Normally by putting fir twigs (and/or arrangements with different winter green twigs/moss and some kind of decoration like dried red berries or pine cones) on the grave, almost everyone also puts a lantern there and lights candles that burn 3-5 days. (These are lit on and off during the whole winter, but always during the different holidays).

The effect is great since it gets dark around 4.30pm now, and it will soon just be a few hours of natural light. So the graveyards look almost like the sky littered with flickering stars.

Halloween has been imported mainly from the states, but is is not yet a very big thing. Mostly kids and shops go all in, some dress up but the trick or treating isn’t in focus. It seems to be more popular to dress up for parties or just to take a picture and post it on some kind of social media.

What seems to be most important is to have a pumpkin (carved or not) outside your house!

Also there still seem to be a bit of confusion among people when to celebrate it, most celebrated yesterday, but I saw some today as well….and some are totally against Halloween because they think the festivities will destroy the calm, peaceful and beautiful traditional celebrations of all saints.