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Bring out your candles and stars – it’s Advent! Posted by on Nov 26, 2010 in Culture

As all you people know – and might have experienced – end November in Sweden is dark, depressingly dark. Snow is a blessing, since it kind of makes things lighter and brighter (and it’s loads of fun of course) but come this weekend, this awful darkness is about to get a kick in the butt. Right this moment and throughout the whole weekend, windows all over Sweden are getting a drastic makeover. Candles, stars, electrical candlesticks (Adventsljustake/Adventsljusstakar), fairy lights – Sweden are counting down to Christmas and welcome Advent with open arms!

Advent candles are  lit all over the globe this weekend, but since we are desperately in need of more than one light, a clever man named Oskar Andersson invented the world’s first electrical candlestick in 1934. These has been custom in every Swedish home (who celebrate Christmas) ever since and by tonight, you will see them everywhere! They consist of seven electrical candles, normally put together in a pyramid shape, and can be made of wood or plastic. The designs nowadays are completely varied and there’s a electrical candle stick for every taste. And wallet – you can spend an absolute fortune on one if you feel the need to.

But no Advent window is complete without an Advent star, a hanging star made from paper, straw or chip wood with a lightbulb inside. These stars also found its way to Sweden in the 1930s, recalling the star that guided the Three Wise Men. If you are going for the full look for your window, you might add a traditional Advent candlestick with four “real” candles and a few Hellebore/Christmas roses for some colour. And voila! There you have it, a Swedish Advent window, ready to fight the darkness!

Since I’m true Swede to the heart, I’ve dragged my electrical candlestick and Advent star to England and our two front  windows are now Swedified.

Have you decorated your window for Advent? Feel like sharing it with fellow Sweden lovers? Take a picture of it and email it to me on jennie.jageblad@yahoo.com – and I will happily upload them on the blog, in an Advent gallery.

Glad Advent!

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  1. Christina:

    Hej Jennie!
    Yes, living here in darkest Sweden through my first winter, I light candles at every possible opportunity! It is lovely and inviting to see colourful candles in large glass jars in several school and preschool staffrooms where I visit as “modersmålslärare”, native English speaking teacher.
    Finding it hard to rise and shine in the pitch black so thinking of getting an alarm clock which lights up for half an hour before the alarm goes off…

  2. jennie:

    Oh god, it must be quite a difference… I struggle when coming home, and I’m only down in Gotheburg… You’re a brave woman! 🙂

    Have heard nothing but good things about those lamps, should be worth every penny!
    Stor kram!

  3. Christina:

    Tusen tack, Jennie! Yes, first time with the lamp-alarm clock was much better! Well worth every kronor 😉 Kram, kram!

  4. Christina:

    PS Hope you don’t mind but I put a link to this piece into my own blog entry, “Let There Be Light!” Light is definitely a topic on my mind living up here in the north of Sweden during the winter. Your article summed up the traditions of Advent so brilliantly that it made a great link… 😉


  5. jennie:

    Thank you very much Christina, I really appreciate that!
    It’s absolutely freezing in Bristol today, and wierdlyu enough, I found this cold harder to cope with than the Swedish “proper” cold… Do you understand what I mean? It’s so raw here… and not to mention, not so well insulated houses!!!! 🙂

  6. Christina Pearce:

    Precis! I know exactly what you mean!The minus teens here are perhaps easier to cope with than freezing back in Bristol! It is a different – perhaps drier – cold here.
    I can’t imagine life now without plug-in car heaters, cosy log fires, triple glazing and underfloor heating…
    Wrap up warm, my friend! Ta det lugnt!