Ted’s helping me take down the Christmas decorations – he seems to be enjoying the tinsel hanging over his baby gym!
Sweden starts celebrating Christmas on December the 20th, and ends on January the 13th, also known as St. Knut’s Day (Knut’s name day). The tradition, also known as ‘Tjugondag Knut’ (twenty days Knut), is celebrated by the ‘plundering’ of the Christmas tree – which literally means taking off all the decorations, and digging in to the sweets that may have been hanging on the tree. There will also be some singing and dancing around the tree to mark this celebration, with the Swedes having the expression “dancing Christmas out”.
These days it is less common that families take part in the tradition in their own homes (though Maya attended a birthday party last week where this was done as one of the party games), though decorations are still usually taken done by this date. There are, however, traditional ‘julplundring’ (Christmas plundering) celebrations happening at some churches, museums and other public areas. This year, due to St.Knut’s day being on a Thursday when most people are at work or school, celebrations are happening at the weekend. The most notable one perhaps is at the ‘Nordiska Museet’ (the Scandinavian museum).
I have tried to find out the connection between Knut and the Christmas ‘plundering’, but I seem unable to find a reliable source. It seems that Knut’s name day was originally on the 7th January, which is Twelfth Night, but in the 17th Century was moved to the 13th January. In some parts of Sweden, people dress up as mischievous Knut, and play tricks on people on this night (the 13th).
Now, must take those decorations down…!