Källström Lucia

At December 13 (yesterday) Lucia is celebrated in Sweden (“Saint Lucy’s Day” in English). All over Scandinavia this date is associated with the longest night of the year (and consequencely the shortest day), since it’s coinciding with Winter Solstice. It is said that to vividly celebrate Saint Lucy’s Day will help one live the long winter days with enough light.

This morning we got a surprise appearence and a visit by Lucia at here Källström! Lucia came singing at the breakfast with lights in the hair and all. A suspiciously bearded Santa also appeared to back our Lucia up in the singing!

Saint Lucy

Our Lucia followed up on a long tradition since “she” was actually male. Fact is that in the 1800’s it was only men that appeared as Lucia. The modern Lucia tradition was namely first started among the Swedish universities where female students wheren’t allowed at that time. Nowadays there are some controversy over males as Lucia (amongst narrowminded people), with one male who was elected Lucia at a high school being blocked from performing. Not so at Källström!

The modern tradition of having public processions in the Swedish cities really took off in 1927 when a newspaper in Stockholm elected an official Lucia for Stockholm that year. The initiative was then followed around the country through the local press. Today most cities in Sweden appoint a Lucia every year. Schools elect a Lucia and her maids among the students and a national Lucia is elected on national television from regional winners. The regional Lucias will visit shopping malls, old people’s homes and churches, singing and handing out gingernut cookies (pepparkakor). Guinness World Records has noted the Lucia procession in Ericsson Globe in Stockholm as the largest in the world, with 1200 participants from Adolf Fredrik’s Music School, Stockholms Musikgymnasium and Stockholms läns Blåsarsymfoniker.

Lucia is a major feast day in Scandinavia, Sankta Lucia is represented as a lady in a white dress (a symbol of a Christian’s white baptismal robe) and red sash (symbolizing the blood of her martyrdom) with a crown or wreath of candles on her head. In Norway, Sweden and Swedish-speaking regions of Finland, as songs are sung, girls dressed as Saint Lucy carry cookies and saffron buns in procession, which “symbolizes bringing the light of Christianity throughout world darkness”. Nowadays Sweden are a rather secular society and for most people it doesn’t hold a religious significance but are rather a light festival where we celebrate the light in the darkness, since it is in fact the darkest time of the year and we are waiting for the (day)light to return to our northerly regions.

Devotion to Saint Lucy is also practiced in the Italian regions of Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Trentino-Alto Adige, in the north of the country, and Sicily, in the south, as well as in the Croatian coastal region of Dalmatia.

Closed for three summer weeks

Källström will be closed for three weeks during summer, week 29, 30, 31. We will close at July 10 and opens up again for business August 3:rd. Also, please note that due to the summer holidays and the ongoing Corona-situation deliveries will be delayed. We will do our best to speed things up under the circumstances!

Happy Midsummer

Come Friday, Sweden and Källström celebrates Midsummer eve, which means most of Sweden are closed (banks, stores etcetera). Midsummer is the period of time centered upon the summer solstice, and more specifically the northern European celebrations that accompany the actual solstice or take place on a day between June 19 and June 25 and the preceding evening. Midsummer is the longest day and the shortest night of the year.

The summer solstice, occurs when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt toward the Sun. It happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere (Northern and Southern). Within the Arctic circle (for the northern hemisphere) or Antarctic circle (for the southern hemisphere), there is continuous daylight around the summer solstice. On the summer solstice, Earth’s maximum axial tilt toward the Sun is 23.44°. Likewise, the Sun’s declination from the celestial equator is 23.44°.

Since prehistory, the summer solstice has been seen as a significant time of year in many cultures, and has been marked by festivals and rituals. Traditionally, in many temperate regions (especially Europe), the summer solstice is seen as the middle of summer and referred to as “midsummer”. Today, however, in some countries and calendars it is seen as the beginning of summer. This year the festivities might be a bit crippled, but we will still celebrate Midsummer!

A typical Swedish Midsummer includes raising and dancing around a maypole (majstång or midsommarstång) is an activity that attracts families and many others. Greenery placed over houses and barns was historically supposed to bring good fortune and health to people and livestock; this old tradition of decorating with greens continues, though most people no longer take it seriously, but the dancing however is still a serious tradition. To decorate with greens was called att maja (to may) and may be the origin of the word majstång, maja coming originally from the month May, or vice versa.

 

Happy Midsummer!

God Jul – Merry Christmas

We here at KÄLLSTRÖMS wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

We are closed over the holidays and the last workday before Christmas is Friday December 20. We will open up production again after New Year on January 7:th. Best wishes for 2020!

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By the way, “God Jul” is Swedish for Merry Christmas, in fact the exact meaning is more like “Good Yule”.

Yule or Yuletide (“Yule time” or “Yule season”) is an indigenous midwinter festival celebrated by the Germanic peoples. Scholars have connected the original celebrations of Yule to the Wild Hunt, the god Odin, and the pagan Anglo-Saxon Mōdraniht. The earliest references to it are in the form of month names, where the Yule-tide period lasts somewhere around two months in length, falling along the end of the modern calendar year between what is now mid-November and early January.

Later departing from its pagan roots, Yule underwent Christianised reformulation, resulting in the term Christmastide. Many present-day Christmas customs and traditions such as the Yule log, Yule goat, Yule boar, Yule singing, and others stem from pagan Yule traditions. Terms with an etymological equivalent to Yule (Jul) are used in Nordic countries and Estonia to describe Christmas and other festivals occurring during the winter holiday season.

Yule is the modern version of Old English words ġēol or ġēohol and ġēola or ġēoli, with the former indicating the 12-day festival of “Yule” (later: “Christmastide”) and the latter indicating the month of “Yule”. The etymological pedigree of the word, however, remains uncertain, though numerous attempts have been made to find Indo-European cognates outside the Germanic group. The noun Yuletide is first attested from around 1475.

The word is attested in an explicitly pre-Christian context primarily in Old Norse. Among many others (the List of names of Odin contains around 180 different names), the long-bearded god Odin bears the names jólfaðr (Old Norse for ‘Yule father’) and jólnir (‘the Yule one’). In Ágrip af Nóregskonungasögum, written in the 12th century, it is explicitly stated that Christmas, iol, comes from a name of Odin, iolne.

Lucia and Paraskevidekatriaphobia – Friday 13:th

Today on the 13:th of December we celebrate Lucia in Sweden (Saint Lucy’s Day in English). All over Scandinavia this date is associated with the longest night of the year (and consequencely the shortest day), since it’s coinciding with Winter Solstice. It is said that to vividly celebrate Saint Lucy’s Day will help one live the long winter days with enough light.

Lucia is a major feast day in Scandinavia, Sankta Lucia is represented as a lady in a white dress (a symbol of a Christian’s white baptismal robe) and red sash (symbolizing the blood of her martyrdom) with a crown or wreath of candles on her head. In Norway, Sweden and Swedish-speaking regions of Finland, as songs are sung, girls dressed as Saint Lucy carry cookies and saffron buns in procession, which “symbolizes bringing the light of Christianity throughout world darkness”. Nowadays Sweden are a rather secular society and for most people it doesn’t hold a religious significance but are rather a light festival where we celebrate the light in the darkness, since it is in fact the darkest time of the year and we are waiting for the (day)light to return to our northerly regions.

In both Protestant and Catholic churches, boys participate in the procession as well, playing different roles associated with Christmas. Fact is that in the 1800’s it was only men that appeared as Lucia. The modern Lucia tradition first started among the Swedish universities where female students wheren’t allowed at that time. Nowadays there are some controversy over males as Lucia (amongst narrowminded people), with one male who was elected Lucia at a high school being blocked from performing.

The modern tradition of having public processions in the Swedish cities really took off in 1927 when a newspaper in Stockholm elected an official Lucia for Stockholm that year. The initiative was then followed around the country through the local press. Today most cities in Sweden appoint a Lucia every year. Schools elect a Lucia and her maids among the students and a national Lucia is elected on national television from regional winners. The regional Lucias will visit shopping malls, old people’s homes and churches, singing and handing out gingernut cookies (pepparkakor). Guinness World Records has noted the Lucia procession in Ericsson Globe in Stockholm as the largest in the world, with 1200 participants from Adolf Fredrik’s Music School, Stockholms Musikgymnasium and Stockholms läns Blåsarsymfoniker.

Devotion to Saint Lucy is also practiced in the Italian regions of Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Trentino-Alto Adige, in the north of the country, and Sicily, in the south, as well as in the Croatian coastal region of Dalmatia.

This years Lucia is oin a friday, which happens to coincide with another phenomena, Friday 13:th. I don’t think many in Sweden will think about this when it’s Lucia. :)

As you might have heard. Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day in Western superstition. It occurs when the 13th day of the month in the Gregorian calendar falls on a Friday, which happens at least once every year but can occur up to three times in the same year – for example, in 2015, the 13th fell on a Friday in February, March, and November. 2017 through 2020 will all have two Friday the 13ths, and the years 2021 and 2022 will have just one occurrence each.

On a side note, a Friday the 13th occurs only during a month that begins on a Sunday.

The irrational fear of the number 13 has been given a scientific name: “triskaidekaphobia”; and on analogy to this the fear of Friday the 13th is called , from the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή, meaning “Friday”), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς, meaning “thirteen”).

According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day, making it the most feared day and date in history. Some people are so paralyzed by fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed. “It’s been estimated that [US]$800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day”. Despite this, representatives for both Delta Air Lines and Continental Airlines (the latter now merged into United Airlines) have stated that their airlines do not suffer from any noticeable drop in travel on those Fridays.

In Finland, a consortium of governmental and nongovernmental organizations led by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health promotes the National Accident Day (kansallinen tapaturmapäivä) to raise awareness about automotive safety, which always falls on a Friday the 13th. The event is coordinated by the Finnish Red Cross and has been held since 1995.

Studies have disproved any correlation between Friday the 13th and the rate of accidents. On the contrary, the Dutch Centre for Insurance Statistics on 12 June 2008 stated that “fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft occur when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday than on other Fridays, because people are preventatively more careful or just stay home. Statistically speaking, driving is slightly safer on Friday the 13th, at least in the Netherlands.

In Italian popular culture, Friday the 17th (and not the 13th) is considered a day of bad luck. The origin of this belief could be traced in the writing of number 17, in Roman numerals: XVII. By moving the “X” one can easily get the word VIXI (“I have lived”, implying death in the present), an omen of bad luck. In fact, in Italy, 13 is generally considered a lucky number. However, due to Americanization, young people consider Friday the 13th unlucky – as well…

Yuletide is drawing near

Since we are in december we have started decorating the office for the season. Last week we had the christmas-tree brought in with extra amount of lights, to visitors and our own delight.

4 weeks to Christmas!

We all love flow-charts, and since Christmas is around the corner, here is an inevitable flow-chart helping you to decide about that gift you are pondering:

Winter is closing in

It’s getting cold and time to change to winter tires on the car. Looking out the window in the Källström office this morning, seeing how the frost made all the roofs snowy white.