Christmas

SCANDINAVIAN CHRISTMAS :: GRANIT and a little Swedish cabin

Oh, skandinavisk jul! (Yes, I have an obsession. But that’s okay, because that’s what this series is all about).  So let’s get the fifth annual Scandinavian Christmas series rolling!

Granit_advent

Every winter in October — yep, not autumn, winter — Swedish  decor (and clothing, and gardening) chain GRANIT unveils their Christmas collection. And you can just feel that arctic afternoon darkness, folding over the cabin like a wool blanket, while the cardamom and anise wash over you.

Skandinavisk Jul! Styling by Swedish interiors and gardening store GRANIT

Skandinavisk Jul! Styling by Swedish interiors and gardening store GRANIT

Skandinavisk Jul! Styling by Swedish interiors and gardening store GRANIT

GRANIT_bulbs

Skandinavisk Jul! Styling by Swedish interiors and gardening store GRANIT

Want more from GRANIT? I love their Pinterest board that’s chock full of Christmas-y images like the ones above. So, so gorgeous. (And this isn’t even a sponsored post! I did say I had an obsession, right? ;))

Want to be a part of the fifth annual Scandinavian Christmas series? Email me at oaxacaborn@gmail.com with a URL, guest post, photo, Pinterest board, or anything else relating to Scandinavian and Nordic holiday traditions. Stay tuned for more Skandinavisk jul!

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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.)

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!