Best summer vacations in Sweden

Gustav Adolf Day (6 Nov). Gothenburg celebrates the royal founder of the city on the anniversary of his death (l95).

St Martin’s Day (10-11 Nov). Roast goose and black soup containing goose blood are served at parties for St Martin of Tours and Martin Luther.

December

Nobel Day (10 Dec). The year’s Nobel Prize laureates are honoured in a ceremony at Konserthuset (Concert Hall) and a banquet in Stadshuset (City Hall) attended by the King and Queen. Lucia Celebrations (13 Dec). Sweden’s chosen Lucia, with her girl attendants and star boys, serves the Nobel laureates morning coffee with saffron buns and

performs traditional songs. In the evening a Lucia procession winds through the capital to celebrations and fireworks at Skansen. Similar Lucia processions take place throughout Sweden and, on a smaller scale, in many homes and schools. Christmas Markets throughout Sweden (from early Dec). The markets at Skansen and Stortorget in Stockholm are particularly atmospheric.

Christmas (24-26 Dec). Filled with traditions, Christmas is the most important Swedish holiday. The main

Lucia, the Queen of Light, with her attendants at Skansen event is Christmas Eve when an abundant smorgasbord is followed by gifts. Christmas Day often begins with a church service.

New Year (31 Dec-1 Jan). People go out on the town. Celebrations are televised from Skansen, including a traditional midnight reading of Tennyson’s Ring out wild bells… Church bells peal and there are spectacular fireworks displays.

Northern Lights over Jokkmokk on a cold winter night.

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