Watching the Swedes Advent Calendar – Dec 9: Julbelysning

Welcome to the Watching the Swedes Advent Calendar. Every day, I will open a window containing a Swedish word that has something to do with Christmas and the festive season.

Today’s word is ‘Julbelysning‘ which translates as ‘Christmas lights’.

Like others around the world, Sweden’s cities and towns install public Christmas lights this time of the year. These decorations illuminate the dark December days and are an important part of building up the Christmas cheer at an otherwise miserable time of the year.

Currently in Stockholm, one million lights have been lit and the city is populated with twinkling elk, reindeer, pine cones, angels, stars and fir trees. Gothenburg, on the other hand, has heavily reduced their Christmas decorations this year saving 2 million Swedish kronor in the process. In Malmö, 400,000 lights have been switched on and brighten up bridges, squares and streets.

Since 1996, on Skeppsbron in Stockholm, the city’s largest Christmas tree has been positioned. An enormous, impressive tree that towers over the buildings of the Old Town and spreads its light over the harbour. The tree in actual fact isn’t a real tree – it is constructed over a central pole with branches attached to it. In doing so, the tree is pleasingly symmetrical.

If you’d like to walk around and see the lights in Stockholm, the city has produced a map which you can find here.

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