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Christmas in Sweden Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

Christmas is full of tradition and festivities in Sweden! In this lesson, learn about the history of Saint Lucy, Swedish Christmas food, and special holiday traditions that make Christmas in Sweden so unique!

God Jul

In December, you'll hear all types of greetings in America. Neighbors, friends, and even strangers wish each other 'Merry Christmas' or 'Happy Holidays.' This year, impress your friends by wishing them a 'God Jul,' which means 'Merry Christmas' in Swedish. This greeting is just one of many unique ways that citizens of the European country of Sweden celebrate Christmas.

Saint Lucia Ceremony

In America, Christmas excitement starts early but everyone has to wait until December 25 for the big day. Don't like waiting? In Sweden you can start the celebrations early! Their holiday festival begins on December 13. This day is called St. Lucia's Day, and it honors a saint who was killed many years ago because she was a Christian. One of the most common ways to celebrate this day involves the youngest daughter of the family. It is her job on the morning of December 13 to wear a white robe and red sash. She puts on a crown of evergreens and lit candles on her head, and she wakes the family. Coffee is served, as well as lucia buns, which are sweet pastries.

Saint Lucia was killed for her religious beliefs, and today she is honored on December 13 in Sweden.
Saint Lucy

Jalbord

Who likes to eat on Christmas? Many people do, including the Swedish! They enjoy a traditional Christmas buffet called jalbord. Think about all of the traditional foods you enjoy at Christmas, and now compare that to foods served at the jalbord: ham, meatballs, pickled herring (a type of fish), and pickled pigs feet. These dishes probably sound very different from what you're used to!

One of the special traditions at a Swedish Christmas involves a rice pudding dish called 'risgryngrot.' This is a type of dessert made from rice, but the fun comes from what is hidden inside! In one bowl of this pudding there is an almond. The tradition is that whoever receives the bowl with the almond will get married in the next year!

Be prepared to get married next year if you get the hidden almond in the risgryngrot!
Swedish rice pudding dish

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