Yule history.

This is what I got from Joyce! It couldn´t have been opened in a better time 🙂 I had no tea left and the only thing my stomach could take was tea! Thank You Joyce, this made my Yule!

Before the stomach flu hit me I had promised to tell You a little about Swedish Christmas , or Yule as we call it. So I think I´ll tell You a little about its history. The people in what we now call the Nordic countries did celebrate the old gods this time of year (like in all europe before christianity came along) by drinking mead and I guess that continued long after we were called christians too. We have always had problems leaving our pagan past behind us 🙂

The little doe has decided it is a good thing to take a nap on the silage my neighbor gives them every day during winter. When we passed again she was sleeping deeply.

Christmas presents came long after and started really as a joke. If I translate the swedish name for christmas presents it is something like Yule knocks. It really sounds funny when translating it but it makes sense if You read the rest 🙂 The giver should be anonymous (we were more humble back then 🙂 🙂 🙂  ) and early in the morning at Yule eve (The nordic countries and big parts of Germany gives away the presents at Christmas eve) the giver knocked on the door and threw in the present and then ran away.

In the beginning this was a joke present, usually a piece of wood or a straw doll. With the present a small verse was put on it telling the person why they had the honor to get this present. Still today many people writes verses on their Yule knocks so the receiver may guess what the package is hiding. The important thing back then was not to be seen, because the verses could be really nasty 🙂 🙂 🙂

Later on the presents got more nice and someone started to give them away. First it was the Yule goat. There are many stories about who the Yule goat really was and one of them says it was the Devil forced by God to do good things one day every year. But he is actually the goat that carried around our old pagan god Tor (or do You spell it Thor?) But he only lasted a short while because then Santa came along. Well we wouldn´t be swedes if we called him Santa would we 🙂 No he is the Yule Gnome over here and most of him is Santa but in old Yule cards we can see that he looks very much like our old house gnomes.

Back in the days the Yule Gnome either came in a carriage after a horse or after a goat (Thor still lives amongst us 🙂 🙂 🙂  ) and still today the goat is a very important Yule figure here. In a town called Gävle they every year puts up the worlds largest straw goat before Yule and almost every year someone burns it down 🙂 🙂 🙂 Now days they have so many guards around it that those burning it must be really smart to make it. So far this year it still stands. To be honest, the only reason people cares about that goat at all is because we all want it to burn down. It has become sort of an Yule tradition 🙂 🙂 🙂

Today I´ll end this post by showing my Christmas card. I do hope that You over the ocean gets it soon! I did post it before the last day they assured that it would arrive in time!           Have a good continuing of Yule!

The text says: Good Yule and a Good New Year.



24 thoughts on “Yule history.

  1. Hej Christer!
    Här har vi snökaos det har kommit 5 dm till sen jag pratade med dig. Den där vackra utegranen vi har ser man bara toppen på, hahaha. Det bara häller ner snö, men det är ju vitt och underbart och ljust och mjukt och så himla kul för hundarna. Skönt att du fick en bautalåda med te, pricken över i.
    Kj går ute med slungan ser ut som en rykande snögubbe som rör på sig, själv sitter jag och myser här med morgonrock. Känns lite lagom att bara kika ut.
    Kram LjusneLotta & Co du är välkommen hit om du vill uppleva en riktig vinter, hahaha

    • Tjänare Lotta!
      Gick och funderade på promenaden om jag skulle ringa upp och fråga hur mycket mer snö ni fått 🙂 🙂 🙂 Här har det kanske kommit en decimeter och det snöar lugnt och stilla hela tiden. Fick mig att fundera på när det är dags att skotta uppe på taket. Inte än man kanske snart ändå.

      Ja hundarna har hur kul som heslt nu 🙂 Men jag hade nog föredragit att göra som du 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Ha det gott där uppe i vinterland 🙂

  2. Hej Christer!
    Imagine that! I never knew that that was the origin of the the word Julklapp!
    well done on providing such an educational service to us, as well as the photos etc!
    Hoppas att du har kryat på dig något och att du mår bättre.
    Det töade nästan helt under natten här, nu har vi gröna fält igen, tack och lov.
    Nästa projekt i detta hus blir att installera en braskamin (stove?) för framtida vintrar!
    God Fortsättning på dig Christer!
    Thanks for the comment in my blogg, apologies for delay in reply, my headcold became a bit worse and I just lay low for a while.
    Varma hälsningar

    • Tjänare Liz!
      Jag lär mig mängder själv nu när jag kollar fakta på det som jag tror mig veta 🙂 So I´m having lots of fun all the time 🙂

      Green fields!!! Oh what I wish I lived on Ireland now 🙂
      Braskamin är aldrig fel! Jag har min köksspis och den är fantastisk. Jag behöver aldrig använda elspisen på vintern 🙂

      I know how it is to be sick 🙂
      Have a good continuing of Yule!

    • Hi Robin!
      I learn a lot while checking the facts that I imagine I know about these things 🙂 It was a bit of a surprise to know that old Tor´s goat still hangs around, but then again we swedes do have our old pagan traditions close to our hearts 🙂

      I´m feeling much better now even if I don´t long for food quite yet 🙂

      Have a great continuing of Yule!

  3. Vilken tur att du fick en hel låda med te:) ser ju ut att vara goda smaker också. Ha en fortsatt trevlig julhelg/Monne

  4. hi christer! this is very interesting to learn of the yule goat! have you been drinking that drink that is available this time of year? i bought some of that at ikea last year. i hope you are feeling better today! joyce

    • Hi Joyce!
      Yes I´ve been drinking lots of it. It´s one of my absolute favorites 🙂
      Even I got surprised to learn about that goat, even if I know that much of our traditions is more or less pagan up here in the north 🙂

      I´m feeling much better now, even if I really don´t long for food yet 🙂

      Have a great continuing of Yule!

  5. Hi Christer!
    How are you today? I expect better and no fever.
    Very interesting to know the stories that originated the traditions of Christmas presents :))
    The gift of Joyce was perfect for you!
    And his card was very cute.
    Hope you have a good day
    kisses to all

    • Hi Didi!
      Much better today, but food isn´t any priority yet 🙂 🙂

      I really like this gift and it was perfect timing opening that package at Christmas eve 🙂

      Have a great continuing of Yule!

  6. I’m glad to hear you are feeling better! Joyce’s gift to you was perfect!
    I love hearing about Yule history. I like that idea of going to the door and throwing the gift in with a note! Maybe I will do that next year! LOL!
    I LOVE your photo on your Christmas card, but then again I think all your photos are fantastic. This year I gave my niece 3 books on photographing animals. Her parents gave her a 35mm camera. I’m going to show her your beautiful pictures so she can see all the great ones you’ve captured. Have a good day!
    Take care, Cindi

    • Hi Cindi!
      It was a perfect christmasgift I got from Joyce 🙂

      Don´t forget the note with the nasty verse on then 🙂 🙂 🙂

      What great gifts she got! I really hopes she like photographing as much as I do 🙂

      Have a great continuing of Yule!

  7. Hi Christer,
    It’s going to snow big time here later on. At least that is what the weather men are saying. They are talking a storm of Blizzard of ’78 proportions which, if you lived here, you would regard as legendary weather. We’ll see how it goes. If it is a blizzard, I’m staying snug inside for the duration. I have tea and chocolate and pizza. All is good.
    I love that photo on the Christmas card as well as your illustrated trip to the land of the Jul Gnome. I will try to post my Christmas morning shots on Facebook so you can visit the harbor.
    I didn’t know Thor rode a goat but I have seen some old illustrations with a Christmasy goat in them. Now I will have to research what Thor’s attributes were and how does the goat relate. It’s a geek thing. You might not understand. 🙂
    Have a great day.

    • Hi Caryn!
      It has snowed here all day and it never seems to stop. But the snow is sort of fluffy so I´m not sure it is that much after all. Over here it was -95. We got over one yard of snow during one night 🙂 🙂 I lived in Gothenburg by that time and had never seen that much snow in my life!

      I would love to see those harbor photos! I´ll check FB!

      Tor rode a wagon dragged by, I think it was, two goats. When he swung his hammer in the air thunder and lightning started. It´s a geek thing with me too 🙂 🙂

      Have a good continuing of Yule!

      • Thor was able to kill and eat his goats and then resurrect them with his hammer the next day and they were good as new except for the time someone cracked open a leg bone and ate the marrow. Then that goat was lame the next day and Thor was really ticked off. But he relented because it was a child of the peasant so instead of killing everyone Thor kept the boy and his sister as servants. I have done my homework. 🙂

      • Hi Caryn!
        I can´t remember that I´ve ever heard about that before 🙂 But some of the legends varies a bit depending on where in the Nordic countries we live. The only animal I knew of that came to live again every morning was the pig Särimner that lived in Valhall. The pig was ready to be slaughtered every day as long as no bone got lost and collected every evening 🙂

        Have a great continuing of Yule!

  8. What an interesting post. And I’m delighted Joyce is keeping you alive this holiday season with food and drink. Did you ever get her to do a Yule dinner for you? I love these winter photos, the deer photo is just wonderful. I would love to live in Sweden where you have your home just for the beauty of the countryside. You have been blessed. And now that JOyce is shipping you food, see if she can do your laundry. Then you are totally set for 2011. I hope next year is a good one for you, now go out and burn down that damn goat!

    • Hi Z&M!
      Yes that tea helped me a lot through this stomach flu 🙂
      What joy would I have had of a Yule dinner? I would not have been able to keep it down.

      It is tempting to burn down that goat 🙂 🙂 🙂 But it is way to far away for me 🙂

      Have a great continuing of Yule!

  9. Now THIS is why I love blogging – and my blogging friends! We have the chance to learn new things, hearabout different traditions, and all the rest. It kind of takes us out of our own little worlds, and into a bigger more interesting one! So thank you for sharing!

    I’m glad you’re feeling somewhat better, and that you’re on the mend. Don’t worry about eating, but please do keep the liquids up….
    *hugs from freezing Australia!*

    • Hi Kate!
      You are so true! That is the reason it is so interesting!

      Much better today, but still not hungry 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Have a great continuing of Yule!

  10. Oh Christer! My card has not arrived and I wanted to take it with me for the Children to see on Christmas!
    I hope it will come tomorrow! I don’t take down my Christmas decorations until January 2 and my Grandson and his family are coming for a visit. I hope it arrives before they come.
    I hope your Christmas/God Jul was a nice one. Stay warm and thank you for the lesson on Christmas in your country! Very interesting! 🙂

    • Hi Mona!
      That´s annoying that it hasn´t arrived yet! I too hope it will arrive tomorrow!
      Over here it´s a tradition to keep the christmas things up twenty days after Christmas. I´ll try to get to know more about that tradition so I can write about it here, because I have no idea why we do like that 🙂 🙂

      Can´t say that my Christmas was especially nice since I had stomach flu 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Have a great continuing of Yule!

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