Swedish people celebrate traditional Christian holidays, such as: Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, Ascension Day; and all sorts of secular holidays, like Work Day – may 1st or The National day of Sweden – June 6th. But Swedish people also celebrate several pagan holidays, such as: Walpurgia night (april 30th), which is welcoming spring with singing by the fire; St. John’s night (second half of June) – the most wonderfully celebrated day in the year, full of dancing and singing, when people are making special ornamented pole, which stands for fertility.
St. Lucia’s day
On December 13th Swedish people celebrate St. Lucia’s day, which stands for light and victory among the powers of darkness. On this day, all Swedish hospitals, schools, working places and old people’s homes are visited by magically lighted St. Lucia’s procession. It is celebrated in several ways, first, there is an election for a local Lucia, who then leads the procession; families celebrate by making coffee with small wheat and saffron buns, baked especially for this holiday, and the youngest woman in the family takes the role of St. Lucia and wakes father up with the “Santa Lucia” song. St. Lucia’s day became common in Sweden in the 19th century, and the first procession was organized in 1927.
Swedish Christmas comes after the four-week advent time. It’s worth mentioning, that the dominating religion is Lutheranism, but many Christmas symbols and customs did come from Germany and are there to stay. Some of these customs are: decorating the Christmas tree, giving presents, making special dishes. Christmas is the longest and the biggest holiday in Sweden, it starts on December 13th with St. Lucia’s day lasts until January 13th.
During Easter time there is a custom of little girls dressed as witches visiting houses, which should be gifted with sweets or money. Easter comes in many times, you could say, that it might be celebrated at the time, when its green and plenty flowers in the south, while in the north it is still snowy. During the holiday, on Swedish tables there are: salmon dishes, roasted lamb and eggs. And the symbol of Lent are special cookies, also known as carnival cookies. Swedish tables are decorated with bouquets of birchen branches decorated with colorful pepper
Other popular celebrations in Sweden are: Stockholm marathon (June 1st) – one of the biggest parties for long-distance runners; Crayfish Day (august) – farewell of a short Swedish summer, celebrated at night in the moonlight; the Stockholm Festival of Water (august) – a party symbolizing Stockholm’s strong connection to water; Surstromming (late august) – folk fun organized mostly in northern Sweden, when people pack Baltic herring into cans, which get stuffed from the influence of fermentative gases; the Eel Celebration (October); St. Marcin’s Eve (October 10th) and Noble Prize Day (October 10th) – celebrated in Stockholm.