在北歐國家瑞典，聖誕節的慶祝活動持續足足一個月，由每年12月13日的聖盧西亞節揭開序幕。在這一天，每家人的長女將穿起白色長禮服，戴著一頂綴有蠟燭的王冠，並擔起為父母和家人奉上甜點和熱葡萄酒的任務，以紀念公元4世紀的基督教先聖 St. Lucia。
晚宴後，傳說中的聖誕精靈 Tomte 會帶上禮物到訪，並和大家講笑話。 Tomte 類似美國的聖誕老人，但是比他更老，而且他不住在北極，而是一個住在你家房子底下的一個侏儒精靈。
在接下來的20多天裡，瑞典人會參加各類派對，和家人與朋友共慶聖誕節。直到1月13日Knut’s Day “Hilarymas”，聖誕節才算正是結束，而在這一天，聖誕樹和所有裝飾都要拆下，而所有剩下的糖果也要吃光！
身在加州也可以親身感受一下北歐的聖誕風情？這個星期天，南加的北歐瑞典社區將在 Torrance 舉辦一年一度的 Swedish Christmas Fair 瑞典聖誕節慶 ，屆時除了有各類手工藝攤位和商品展示外，還有正宗瑞典美食、兒童遊戲區、抽獎，12點和3點更會有慶祝聖盧西亞節的巡遊重頭戲上演，對小朋友來說，是一個不可多得的文化體驗喔！
Swedish Christmas Fair 瑞典聖誕節慶
Sunday, December 13, 2015
10:00 am-5:00 pm
12:00 & 3:00pm – Lucia pageant and choir performances
Torrance Cultural Arts Center, Ken Miller Auditorium, 3350 Civic Center Drive, Torrance, CA 90503
SWEA Los Angeles welcomes everybody to a wonderful Christmas Fair, a dear tradition for over 3 decades!
The fair will feature fine artisans at booths presenting the best of Sweden: fine art, books, jewelry, toys, Christmas collectibles, and much more. Bring family and friends for a traditional Swedish lunch or “fika” (coffee break) with delicious home baked sweets. You can even enjoy an invigorating glass of hot Glögg (mulled wine). Pick up cookies, handcraft and decorations for your holiday party and be entertained by folk dancers.
Children have their own fun corner where they can say hello to Santa and create their own crafts to take home. As always, there will be a raffle with a special grand prize.
COST: $10 donation, children under 12 FREE; Proceeds from donations go to SWEA Los Angeles Film Scholarship.
The Swedish Christmas Tradition
Christmas is a perfect time to visit Sweden. Swedish Christmas celebrations begin with the December 13th celebration of Saint Lucia and run all the way until Knut, on January 20th. In fact, there is a famous song in Sweden that says Christmas lasts until Easter!
Saint Lucia on Dec. 13 marks the beginning of the holiday season. To celebrate, the oldest girl in a family dresses in a white robe and puts on a crown made of candles to play the role of St. Lucia. Yup, real candles! She has to walk very carefully with this burning arrangement on her head! The legend has it that Saint Lucia overcame darkness and found light. To continue bringing light into the long dark Swedish nights, many parades are organized in Sweden.
After dinner on Christmas Eve on Dec. 24th, a merrymaker dresses up as Tomte, a Christmas gnome. The back-story about Tomte may sound familiar: he lives on a farm and gives people presents. Today Tomte has begun to blend with Santa and each family interprets him differently. At every home, though, Tomte or Santa walks right through the front door on Christmas Eve (after stopping for rice pudding, the Swedish equivalent of our cookie offering to Santa). Sounds a lot cleaner and more practical that squeezing down the chimney!
Two days before Christmas is the perfect time to decorate a Christmas tree and the living room. Some families decorate a live tree outside in the yard, while other homes have indoor Christmas trees covered in lights. Other festive tree and home decorations include gingerbread biscuits and flowers, Swedish flags on ribbons, hand-made ornaments and straw animals like billy goats.
Famous Swedish Food for Christmas
Dinner that follows is quite a smorgasbord, with sausage, pickled herring, lutfisk, jellied pigs feet and meatballs for the savory course. For dessert, you can choose from lots of sweet treats, like pink caramels, mint kisses, marzipan cookies, saffron buns and gingerbread cookies, among others.
A very special dessert is risgrynsgrot, a rice pudding with just one almond in it. Tradition has it that the lucky person who finds the almond gets to make a wish or gets a present. One of the sweet treats served on St. Lucia is called lussekatt, which means a “Lucia cat.”