And so the season of lights begins…
Winter has truly arrived… and quicker than any of us expected! The clocks have gone back and the light continues to fade… but in Sweden, darkness can mean only one thing… the season of lights has begun.
For centuries, candles, lamps and the warmth of the cosy fireplace have been used to bring light into the darkness in homes across the land and even today, you can see evidence of this throughout Stockholm during this dark winter season. It is probably no coincidence then that many festivities (both old and new) centre around the theme of light:
Alla Helgons Dag
It all starts with All Saints Day (Alla helgons dag) where, during the first weekend in November, candles are lit at gravesides and in cemeteries to commemorate those who have passed.
Set up by volunteers, this relatively new light festival has been running for 10 years and takes place during the first weekend in November. Families and friends gather, with their facklor (lit torches) and walk through Hagaparken in central Stockholm, creating a fackeltågen (light train). When the weather is good, lit-up boats set sail on the waters and several fires, candles and lights are on display for all to see.
The goal of the Light Festival is to “convey joy, warmth and reflection in an otherwise dark season and remind us of the rich natural and cultural environments that are around Brunnsviken water, a part of the unique Royal National City Park.”
But it is season of advent in December that sees the ultimate light celebration in Sweden. Lucia is a big deal here and across Stockholm, you will not find it hard to find artistic candle processions, set to beautifully arranged traditional Swedish songs, in churches throughout the city. You can read more about Lucia here.
So there you have it… the season of darkness is upon us but with it comes light, and a good amount of Swedish tradition to embrace as well!
7th November 2016
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