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Light decorations before Christmas in Sweden

Funnel

Sweden Unleased - Special Contributor
#1
As promised here are some photos from the Christmas light decorations (often called Advent decorations over here) I have made today.
Let's start outside in the garden.
Rather common is a spruce with lights in. Traditionally there have only been 16 lights in the outdoor spruce. Nowdays some will have more lights but I stick to 16, so far. Here is my spruce.



As you can see it's rather sparse as it is a "regular" spruce from the forest. You can by specially grown trees that are much more dense but as I have a forest of my own I usually takes my spruce from there (maybe I have to start grow more dense spruces...).

Here are some of the other lights outside. First at the front porch, a simple line of lights (again 16 of them).



Here are some at my back porch. Same type of lights as the front porch.



And here are some more lights (light tube) at the back porch.



That's all my outdoor lights. If I add some more my neighbours will think I'm crazy or have some American roots... :biggrin:

In the windows we usually have what we call "Advent lights". About 20 years ago they always looked like this:



Still it's the most common lights but there are some others, like this one.



The "base" is the same (same shape of the lights and 7 of them).

Nowdays it's rather common to have lights like this too:



As you can see all my lights are white. Most common here are white lights, but blue and red are starting to be more common.
There are no flashing lights in my garden, and that is not common at all over here even though some have it.
I try to keep it rather traditional, but would not mind to have some more modern lights, especially in my windows. Maybe next year...

I'll come back in about a month with a photo of my indoor Christmas tree (hey... there I have more than 16 lights -but still white and not flashing...).

So... now I'm eager to see some of your decorations over there!

/Erik
 

Charles

Captain Weather
#2
Thank you Erik.

Why are there only 16 lights in tree and on the porch? I can't figure out the significance of 16.

Thanks.

Charles
 

seamom

Well-Known Member
#4
Lovely in its simplicity. I'll be happy to post pictures this year now that I've discovered it is so much simpler. I like white in my tree too...but jammed with ornaments, the colour is plentiful. Your home looks peaceful and inviting.....and rather mild weather with those green leaved plants on the front porch?
 

Funnel

Sweden Unleased - Special Contributor
#5
Thank you Erik.

Why are there only 16 lights in tree and on the porch? I can't figure out the significance of 16.

Thanks.

Charles
I have tried to find something about that but the only explanation so far is that it is some electrical reason. I guess that was many years ago, but we still use 16 lights.
Thinking of it, I have not seen any "light chain" with these bigger lights with more than 16 lights. If there are more than 16 lights they are usually smaller.

/Erik
 

Beryl

Trivia Specialist
#7
Oh Eric...thank you for posting your lovely photos! I love your little tree with the "football" lights! I am even more in the Christmas mood for having enjoyed the photos!
 

ShipMaven

Forever Remembered
#8
Erik - your photos are beautiful. And Charles asked what I was about to ask - the significance of 16 lights. Matters not - I love your decorations.

My outdoor Christmas lights are now up, put up by a friend today - but I think I shall wait awhile to take photos. There's no way I'll show mine near yours!!!!:( I use the "American" colors - multi-color......while yours are so traditionally elegant.



These "older" Advent lights are absolutely stunning!
 

Whimsy

Well-Known Member
#10
Very nice. Like Mary Ann, I don't want to share mine too close to yours. We are still in the process of putting things out. I did get a new Christmas tree this year and am anxious to get it up and decorated.
 

ShipMaven

Forever Remembered
#12
Oh, Erik. You are in trouble!

I am so impressed by the 7-candle "traditional" Advent lights that you made me order two in natural wood.

 

maw

Wordsmith
#13
Thank you Funnel-such pretty displays. I too wondered abt the 16 lights. Paw has our outside lights all up. He has most of inside decorations up. Tree with multicolored lights really helps to get in spirit.
 

seamom

Well-Known Member
#14
Curiouser and curiouser, I went on a search and found this lovely site about Christmas in Sweden. Swedish Festivals and Fun Activities for Sweden


Two ideas not confirmed in this article for 16? The Protestant reformation in Sweden was in the 16th century and the Gregorian calendar was adopted...........and four candles on the Advent wreath are lit for each of the four Sundays in December (I think I misread this...maybe there are four candles and one is lit each of the four Sundays)? They also sell those strings of candle shaped tree bulbs in 16.

Nothing conclusive but I will however be singing "Sixteen Candles" all day today after this search! :)
 

Funnel

Sweden Unleased - Special Contributor
#15
Your home looks peaceful and inviting.....and rather mild weather with those green leaved plants on the front porch?
Oops... I have to get rid of those fake plants... :biggrin:
It's actually 32F warmer today than the same date last year.

/Erik
 

GloBug

Senior Flea Coller Tester
#16
Ok Mele Ana, I give up. I've googled every description I can think of... where did you find those lights? They are lovely!
 

GloBug

Senior Flea Coller Tester
#17
Curiouser and curiouser, I went on a search and found this lovely site about Christmas in Sweden. Swedish Festivals and Fun Activities for Sweden

Two ideas not confirmed in this article for 16? The Protestant reformation in Sweden was in the 16th century and the Gregorian calendar was adopted...........and four candles on the Advent wreath are lit for each of the four Sundays in December (I think I misread this...maybe there are four candles and one is lit each of the four Sundays)? They also sell those strings of candle shaped tree bulbs in 16.

Nothing conclusive but I will however be singing "Sixteen Candles" all day today after this search! :)
I was looking for "16" too, but I also found the references to the four candles. One for each Sunday leading up to Christmas. I am unsure through why there are 3 purple and 1 pink. Can't find that reference. Lovely tradition, fun to learn about different cultures.
 

Funnel

Sweden Unleased - Special Contributor
#18
Oh, Erik. You are in trouble!

I am so impressed by the 7-candle "traditional" Advent lights that you made me order two in natural wood.
Mary Ann, I'm glad I made you spend some money... :biggrin:
It will look nice in your windows!
Is it common to have Advent lights like that over there?

/Erik
 

nieciez

Well-Known Member
Community Sponsor
#19
Oh how lovely Erik! And count me as another who loves the wooden Advent Candelabra. And I LOVE the spruce with only 16 large bulb light string. It's great to see other traditions. I hope we will get some decorating done next weekend.
 

Beryl

Trivia Specialist
#20
An advent wreath has 4 candles. One candle is lit on each of the four Sundays preceding Christmas Day...so on the last Sunday before Christmas all four candles are lit. See more here.... The Christian Season of Advent

I think the lights on Erik's Advent Candelabra might represent the 7 days prior to Christmas....and yes, it is beautiful!

I loved this story of why the Swedes prefer white lights for their outdoor decorating... "Each advent the church lit seven candles in the advent tree so that in the end there were 28 burning candles in the pine or juniper tree. Between Sundays the tree was placed outdoors in the snow without any decoration other than the candles and this is probably the inspiration for the way Swedes do their decorating outdoors." You can read this and loads of info about Swedish Christmas traditions at Christmas Traditions ... but there is no mention of why the 16 lights! Perhaps it is just the way they were originally manufactured.