Joy in the darker months


Earlier today I came across a newspaper article stating that Sweden might reach a record for lack of sunlight this November. It is true that the sun has barely shown its face around these skies lately, leaving us with a combination of cloudy grey skies and shortened daylight hours that can become slightly depressing.

As there are no seasonal changes in my country, last year was the first time I faced such darkness. I had been warned that it could affect my mood and sleeping patterns, and it did; so for this autumn I decided that I’d extract the most joy possible from the situation. My research began by asking people who had been exposed to seasonal changes for almost their whole lives. Many of them agreed that it can still bring them down from time to time, but the most widespread recommendation to fight the gloom was fika with friends. I’m not surprised to say that fika does work… but for me it also takes embracing the pleasant bonuses that only come with these months! For example, I have already spotted Lussekatter in a few supermarkets and cafes. These are my favorite Swedish buns, they are eaten on and around Lucia celebration and have a sweet saffron-based flavor. They go excellently with tea!

Among the many edible winter gems we can also count Clementines. They are very similar to the mandarins that I was used to, but smaller and much more fragrant. These fruits seem to be more common in autumn and winter, maybe specially to brighten up people’s moods with their scent.

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And the most charming seasonal gems are the Christmas lights decorating the streets. They have already been placed at many points in the city, including in a 116 meters long Christmas tree at Liseberg. Below are some pictures of the decorations that I caught today on an evening stroll.

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At Chalmers Lindholmen campus

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By Centralstation

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Inside Nordstan

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Christmas markets are already open!

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IMG_0950 Around Domkyrkan

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I can’t wait until the lights spread from the streets into homes. At some point in December, when the darkness is at its best, almost all the windows become illuminated by candle holders and traditional stars. I like to think of it as a solidarity gesture, people deciding to give a more gleeful sight to those who have to be outside in the dark. I hope that those of you who are in Sweden are enjoying this nearly record-setting November, and if you’re not around here… then enjoy the sun for us!