As I wrote in a previous post, I have already started Christmas at my house, with my favourite Christmas CD - but, normally, the official kick-off for Christmas for a Swede would be today. Not today as in the 30th in November, but today as in Sunday the 1st of Advent.
Every house in Sweden, and I mean EVERY house, and nearly every window, will have been decorated with advent lights, stars and other decorations for this day. It is really, really beautiful and an impressive sight for any foreigner that comes to visit. One of my favourite times of the year actually! At the moment it gets dark around 4 pm back home, so you can understand the need to lit up our homes at this time of the year.
The 1st of Advent, is the first of the four Sundays before Christmas and in Sweden it's tradition to decorate an Advent candle holder, put four candles in, and then light one each Sunday.
Although Advent is celebrated as a season of the Christian church (the period of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus) and the beginning of the Western Christian year; for most Swedes it equals the kick-off for Christmas shopping, Christmas baking, Christmas parties, Christmas decorating, Christmas gluttony, Christmas celebrations etc...
Therefor, I am now going to have myself a glass of glögg and some pepparkakor in the light of my Christmas tree!