European Christmas is treated as if it were from a fairy tale : The snowy depictions of cobbled streets, elegant snow-clad houses, well decorated majestic Christmas trees, the enticing Christmas markets and not to forget the proximity to the North Pole, housing the clan of Santas. Fairy tale comparison is no fiction.
While this is my second Christmas in Europe, it has only gotten better this time. I was overwhlemed by the snow, and cold, and darkness last year, whereas this year I am better prepared, savoring the season with joy and anticipation. The Jul-sake lit Gothenburg streets are a joy to walk during the chilly nights of December. Christmas candles peep out the windows everywhere you turn. Sadly, there hasn’t been any snow as yet in Gothenburg, but the festive season is nonetheless evident everywhere.
Swedes take their festivals seriously – be it the Lucia Day, when you see angel-like Lucia’s singing songs, taming the engulfing darkness, and handing out saffron buns, or everything that is done for Christmas. This is another surprising aspect of Sweden – known to be a haven for non-believers, and it certainly is not a piously Lutheran Chrisitian country; Still to cherish the culture surrounding Christmas so joyously and wholeheartedly, is again Sweden being the champion of the right values to the rest of the world.
My favourite aspect of Christmas celebrations are the Christmas markets!
Every major city and even small ones have their own rendition of Christmas markets. Each of these markets are known for something special. For instance, I recently visited the Christmas market in Liseberg, Gothenburg, which happens to be the largest in Sweden! With plenty of stores selling Christmas goodies – that range from special candies to Lapland artifacts, the market does resemble a true market (with a lot people)!
Song, dance, candies, fragrant food stalls, spectacular lights – the fairy tale Christmas celebration just fell into place this time, when we were also were spectators to the scintillating ice skating performance, depicting the story of Snödrottningen(Snow Queen)! Thirty minutes of sheer skill, artistry and a mind blowing performance.
Next, I am heading to southern Europe for the vacation and will try not missing out on the markets there.
God Jul to all!
PS: Here’s some portion of the ice skating performance at Liseberg Christmas market.