Christmas is called “Jul” in the Nordic languages, or “Jól” in Icelandic. The word comes from the ancient Germanic word “jehwla” which is also linked to the Finnish “joulu”. Jul was celebrated as a holiday in Old Norse religion and the Germanic world long before Christianity. In the Nordic countries, the Christian Christmas was named after the pre-Christian holiday.
In Sweden, the holiday “Lucia” together with Advent marks the beginning of the Christmas celebration. Lucia is celebrated on December 13. Lucia is a saint in the Christian tradition originating in Sicily. The Swedish Lucia is a mixture of both pre-Christian and Christian figures and this tradition has spread to other Nordic countries, and to some extent also outside the Nordic countries. It is a tradition to bake “Lussebullar” for Lucia. Very tasty wheat buns with saffron, raisins and often with almond paste. The pictures are from this year’s traditional baking.