God Jul, Merry Christmas

23 12 2020

“Julotta” is a traditional Swedish church service held early in the morning on Christmas Day. “Jul” is the Swedish word for Christmas, and “otta” is the time just before dawn. The tradition goes back to the Middle Ages, and everyone that could, attended the Julotta. In the Swedish Church Law dated 1686, it is stated that the Julotta should start at 6 AM Christmas Day morning.

The Julotta service has been a part of SAHSWI program for many years, held at the Whitnall Park Lutheran Church. The service this year is cancelled due to the Pandemic. Thanks to the North Park Covenant Church in Chicago a virtual service available through the link below.

Julotta at North Park Covenant Church

SAHSWI celebrated Santa Lucia Day virtually on December 13. During the ZOOM meeting a video was played with a traditional Lucia concert from Kungsholm’s cathedral in Stockholm, Sweden. Recently, our Society was contacted by Elsa Nilsson, offering a different rendition of a Lucia Concert. This is Elsa’s introduction.

“I hope this message finds you and your loved ones well. I am writing with a Lucia greeting I am hoping you will share with your network. My name is Elsa Nilsson and I am a flute player from Gothenburg, Sweden, based in New York city for the past 10 years. Every year around Lucia I get incredibly homesick, and can you blame me? Lucia is my favorite of the Swedish holidays! As a child I would be in at least 10 Luciatåg (Lucia processions) every year, and I loved the idea of celebrating the return of light with music at the center.”

Elsa goes on to say that she and her band released an album on Lucia Day with the hope that it is able to spread some light in this dark time. You can listen to this jazz inspired Lucia concert through the link below.

Dark Is Light Is | Elsa Nilsson (bandcamp.com)

Swedish American Historical Society of Wisconsin wishing you

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Illustration “Gnomes” Swedish Christmas by Lars Carlsson