Dec 26, 2009

Saffron and Ginger and

 Lights......Oh My!!

(A Swedish "Advent"-ure)

     The Advent season starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas in Sweden.  The first candle is lit in the evening and then each succeeding Sunday another is lit until all four are burning.  The Advent candle holder above with it's soft brass finish and painted ornaments is from Hans' childhood.  He has kept it polished and repaired and it is a lovely feeling to display it each year.  Advent is a wonderful time for all of us as we look forward to celebrating the coming of the Son of God to the earth.  It is exciting for the children and  filled with warmth and festivities for everyone as the countdown to Christmas Eve begins.  Swedish traditions here on the farm make the Christmas season a most peaceful time, surprisingly devoid of much of the hustle and bustle.  There are lights everywhere -  on tables, in windows and on the Advent tree - and even the animals in the barn seem to feel the sweet spirit of the season.  
     The boys brought over all the Advent decorations that we had packed away last year and stored in the lillstuga.  As we unpacked the boxes we were glad that we had taken the time to label each one carefully as the decorations that are used for Advent come first and the other decorations are not put out until much later, closer to the actual Christmas Eve.  It was a snowy day and once the boxes were unloaded they had to be taken back.  Here is a display of  "balance extraordinaire" as they carry the empties back to the lillstuga until after the holidays.  Pretty amazing...they didn't drop one!

     Saffranbullar and pepparkakor  (saffron buns and ginger cookies) are a must and should be ready for the beginning of the celebration period as they are eaten traditionally all throughout the holidays.

       We have the world's most delicious recipes for both saffranbullar (from Ebba Henrikson, a dear family friend in our small village of Eden) and pepparkakor (from Hans' mother, Birgitta Metzen, that she made each year) so this year we started early to be totally prepared!  In the ICA grocery store the little tiny packets of saffron are kept behind the counter by the cashier because they are so precious and extremely expensive, but we are told that even the most modest household will have is such an important part of the feeling of Advent.  We had fun making the "S" shaped rolls and poking in the raisins.  Here they are glazed with egg wash and ready to go into the woodstove for baking.

       With the pepparkakor dough we have made angels, gingerbread men and women, reindeer, bells, Swedish goats, etc. We even found a magazine article showing how to decorate both regular and oversized pepparkakor in the Swedish style.  We are going to see if we can find the time to try that later in the season with the super big cutters that we found unexpectedly in a store in Örnsköldsvik this year.  

       Most exciting of all is to see the farm and the beautiful Advent tree all lit event that is to take place before midnight on the first Sunday of Advent.  This is the most beautiful tree any of us can remember having and it has caused quite a buzz in our village and also in Junsele and other villages round about.  Many have driven out to Eden just to see the "Karlsson  Adventgran".  We are so thrilled to have it and to have others experience the joy of it as well.  
      Each time we come up over the rise towards the village of Eden, in the darkness that is with us for so much of the day and night in northern Sweden at this time of year,  we see

...The Farm..

       With golden lights glowing in every window it  is a breathtakingly beautiful sight and we are filled with gratitude for our life here.

We wish you a wonderful Christmas Season!

1 comment:

Lauralee said...

What a terrific job the boys did on the Advent tree. It just looks gorgeous. No wonder people came from miles around to see it.