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Introducing Sweden in December

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My name is Johanna and I am an international student from Sweden. I study to become a Psychologist at the University of Linköping but I am very patriotic to my hometown Göteborg on the west coast of Sweden. Since I am not going home for the winter break I cannot help but thinking longingly at the preparations for Christmas that are taking place in Sweden at the moment.


The Sunday four weeks before Christmas, Swedes celebrate Advent, which starts the countdown to the 24th of December that is the main day of the Christmas holiday. Advent calendars filled with candy, electrical advent candle-holders in every window and a televised advent calendar (usually a drama of 24 episodes) helps Swedes get into the spirit of the season. Throughout the entire season, glögg-parties are a common event. Glögg-parties are like a casual cocktail party where one drinks hot spicy wine, with or without alcohol. The glögg is mixed with almonds and raisins that are picked up with a spoon and eaten later on. On the 13th of December Swedes are woken up in the early morning by a girl in a white dress and a crown of lit candles on her head. Her name is Saint Lucia and she sings traditional songs and usually brings coffee and saffron rolls as a symbol of light in the dark winter. Apart from these traditions Swedes, like Americans shop a lot. This year it has been estimated that the average Swede will spend 860 dollars on presents for their loved ones, which is 8 percent more than 2006. So even though there might be cultural differences in preparation for the holiday season, shopping seems to be a universal tendency.

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