Christmas

SCANDINAVIAN CHRISTMAS :: Your Chance to be Featured on the Fourth Annual Blog Series!

Scandinavian_Christmas_Oaxacaborn_2014

It’s that time again. For the fourth year in a row, Oaxacaborn will soon be transformed into a Scandinavian winter wonderland — and I can’t wait!

Here are a just a few highlights from the last few years.

Of course, none of this would be possible without YOU, my incredible world-wide readers. So, what do you have for us all this year? Email me at oaxacaborn@gmail.com!

(Still need ideas? You can read more about what sort of Scandinavian/Nordic Christmas topics to submit, or click here to see the entire Scandinavian Christmas archive.)

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Scandinavian Summer

What is Midsommar, Noc Kupały, and Juhannus?

midsommar midsommarafton via mokkasin
Image Credit: Midsommarafton [midsummer] via Mokkasin

One midsummer when I was probably eleven or so, I remember spending the weekend at my great-grandparents’ lakeside cabin in Upper Michigan. The scenery everywhere up there looks exactly like this, even though these photos are from Finland, and not Michigan. Fascinating, isn’t it, considering how many Nordic immigrants settled in the Upper Peninsula?

Brett Seward
Image Credit: Sweden in summer by Brett Seward

That weekend, in between carving my name in the paper-white bark of birch trees, eating sour wild strawberries and floating in the cold lake, I remember the Finnish-language program Suomi Kutsuu playing on the little living room TV, showing what seemed like endless footage of a bonfire slowly burning in the middle of the lake. I didn’t put two and two together then — I wasn’t what you’d call an observant child — but I was at my great-grandparents’ place over Juhannus!  Although you might not know Juhannus by name, you probably know Swedish midsommar, and you most certainly know summer solstice.

Midsommar crown
Image Credit: Crown by Mendocino Floral Design via Style Me Pretty

In the northern US states of Michigan or Minnesota, both around latitude 46° N, the summer solstice marks a magically late sunset — no wonder I didn’t get much sleep that weekend! Can you imagine midsummer’s eve in Stockholm or Helsinki, at 60° N? Incredible, the daylight must stretch on forever! [As a comparison, Orlando is at 28.4° N, and Oaxaca, where I was born, is even further down at 16.9° N)

Midsummer traditions vary among different Northern European countries, but my favorites are the lake bonfires, or kokko, of Finnish Juhannus, the floral crowns of Swedish Midsommar, and the glittering floating lanterns of Poland’s Noc Kupały.

Although a sky full of lanterns or a water’s edge bonfire might be a bit hard to pull off where you live, you can still celebrate midsommar. Do you have plans this weekend? Maybe you’ll celebrate with a maypole and a Swedish smörgåsbord (pickled herring and dill potatoes!), or maybe you’ll gather flowers and make a pretty floral crown.

Or, maybe, your nod to the summer solstice will simply be tossing and turning, wishing you’d purchased blackout drapes. ;)

However you celebrate, god midsommar!

Christmas

SCANDINAVIAN & NORDIC CHRISTMAS :: 3rd Annual Open Call for Christmas Submissions

NOW ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS for the 3rd Annual Scandinavian and Nordic Christmas Series on the Oaxacaborn blog! (Carl Larsson image) 

It’s October, and already, I’m seeing a big spike in Christmas-related searches. (You all really, really love Christmas posts.) Can you believe it’s almost time for the Third Annual Scandinavian & Nordic Christmas Series? It’s crazy that we’ve been doing this together for three years now!

If you’re a new reader, every year in November and December everything goes Christmas here on Oaxacaborn. And not just any Christmas. We celebrate all things Scandinavian and Nordic, and during these next two months the blog will be full of Jul with brilliant guest posts by bloggers, photographers, writers from around Northern Europe.

We’ll talk about advent calendars (julkalender and adventskalender, that is), traditional celebrations and foods, wrapping paper, decorations, meals, dinner parties, ornaments, and Christmas trees. We’ll delve into snowy winters and traditions and we’ll light candles in the windows and we’ll deck the halls with red and white (and blue and yellow, and blue and white, too).

The most amazing part to me about the Annual Scandinavian & Nordic Christmas series is how all of you — all of us — come together to make this happen. For the last two years, people from all over Europe and the US and have shared beautiful Decemberish photographs and words with Oaxacaborn readers, and it’s you who have made this series the success it is today.

If you participated before, you’re welcome to share again! If this is your first time, we’re so happy to have you. (You don’t even need to be Scandinavian or Nordic…just a lover of Christmas and the northern traditions.)

Maybe you have a tutorial on how to create a Swedish heart. Maybe you want to share how your family celebrates Finnish Independence Day. Maybe your Christmas dinner table last year was stunning, and you want us to see. Maybe you live in a Scandinavian or Nordic country, and you want to send photos of your town’s or family’s celebrations. Maybe you have a memory of your grandparents and how they passed down the traditions to you. Maybe you’re an absolute pro at curating images, and you want to send a round-up of (properly credited) Christmas images. Maybe you’re a knitter who creates Icelandic sweaters. Maybe your Norwegian heritage shows proudly every time you get out the Christmas decorations. Maybe you want to show how the streets of Copenhagen look in December. Maybe you want to share some Christmas legends and lore. Or maybe you have a killer mantle display and want to share the wintry beauty.

Remember, we’re celebrating all things Nordic and Scandinavian, all November and December. So in addition to Christmas (of course!) this series also aims to showcase any national holidays or celebrations happening during that time leading up to Christmas, too.

So what are you waiting for? Check out the previous Scandinavian/Nordic Christmas posts here, and then email me, oaxacaborn@gmail.com.

(Content which you’ve already published on your own blog is perfectly fine. And remember, the posts don’t have to be lengthy – a single inspiring image is excellent, as well.)

Can’t wait to hear from you. :)

Hyvää Joulua! God Jul! 

Christmas

NORDIC CHRISTMAS :: A Finnish Country Christmas from ‘Punainen talo maalla’

Remember the Finnish Country Christmas I showed you on Thursday? The blogger behind those photos, Hanne of Punainen talo maalla [the red house in the country], is here today to share her love for Christmas!

“Thank you Gina for inviting me to write about our Christmas time here in the little red house. I live in eastern Finland in the countryside with my fiancee and our two Parson Russell Terriers Onni and Veeti. I have always been a “Christmas person” but after buying this house I fell completely and utterly in love with the season.
Christmas photos from Red House in the Country Punainen talo maalla as seen on the Oaxacaborn blog
I start my Christmas countdown around midsummer and during the autumn, Christmassy things are finding their way to our decor. After all, the best thing about Christmas is the wait.
2 - Christmas photos from Red House in the Country Punainen talo maalla as seen on the Oaxacaborn blog
I prefer a quiet and old fashioned Christmas. Our house is almost 100 years old and I often think that these log walls have seen so many Christmases. My Christmas includes Christmas carols, candles, good food, good friends and spending time with the family. And of course, chocolate!
Christmas photos from Red House in the Country Punainen talo maalla as seen on the Oaxacaborn blog
We always have a real Christmas tree, and this year I´m going to get two of them=) We bring the tree in a few days before Christmas Eve, because I want to enjoy the scent and the atmosphere the tree brings well in advance. I have a wish that some Christmas I could go for a horsesleigh ride in a snowy forest. That would be a dream come true! Hope I can make it happen someday.

I want to wish you all a very happy Christmas!”

Thank you, Hanne! Hyvää Joulua!

Punainen talo maalla blog  | on Facebook

Christmas

NORDIC CHRISTMAS :: A Finnish Country Christmas

2 - Nordic Christmas photos via Red House in the Country Punainen talo maalla

Nordic Christmas photos via Red House in the Country Punainen talo maalla

3 - Nordic Christmas photos via Red House in the Country Punainen talo maalla
I love these delightfully Christmas photos from Finnish blog Punainen talo maalla. (Doesn’t the dog make you laugh? I love it!)

Be sure to check back here on Sunday, as I’ve asked Hanne, who writes Punainen talo maalla, to stop by and share a Nordic Christmas guest post with you all!