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Traditions and holidays

Here we present traditions, local and national, known and unknown.
The page is filled with more traditions and holidays on an ongoing basis.

The Sami National Day has been celebrated on 1993 February since 6. The day is a common holiday for all Sami living in Finland, Norway, Russia and Sweden.

The date that is noticed is February 6, 1917 when the first Sami national meeting of the Sami was held in Tråante / Trondheim. At the meeting, for the first time in Sami history, Northern and Southern Sami from Norway and Sweden met to discuss common problems. The following year, a similar meeting was held in Staare / Östersund.

One of the initiators of the meeting in Tråante / Trondheim in 1917 was Elsa Laula Renberg. She had experience of land disputes and believed that the Sami needed to stand united to bring about a change in the view of the Sami population. Elsa Laula is seen as a national hero and her birthday on November 29 has been celebrated for a few years now as a Sami flag day.

The Sami flag is for all Sami. The circle is a symbol of the sun and moon. The sun ring is red and the moon ring is blue. The colors are taken from the Sami costume.

DM_KEF1383: Idre, Slugufjäll. Per Rikard and Jo Jonsson's peat hut with timbered vestibule in the camp by Töfsingsjön, near Slugufjäll, 1916. Photo: Karl ‐ Erik Forsslund.

In Dalarna is the southernmost Sami village, Eajran Sijte / Idre new Sami village. The Sami village is one of Sweden's smallest with a maximum number of reindeer set at 2700 by the county administrative board. The pastures are in the municipalities of Älvdalen and Härjedalen. Later in history, there has been a Sami population throughout Dalarna and not everyone has been a reindeer herder. In the sources we find, among other things, skilled craftsmen, hunters and musicians.

Celebrating Mats or Mattsmässan with a bear, bride and groom is a tradition celebrated by children and young people in Gagnef in Dalarna. It occurred during the 1800th century and a bit into the 1900th century the days before Mats, on 22 or 23 February. Louise Hagberg from the Nordic Museum visited Gagnef in 1913. She was then told that the custom of Mats with disguise was disappearing. Her narrator told that the bride and groom were still walking around the yards but that the bear was more invisible. The participants, who could be up to about twenty, were called "Matsmässgubbarna" and were aged 11-20 years. The food men were dressed in sock robes and sometimes a priest could join in to "read" about the bride and groom. The priest was then wearing a coat and collar. The bride's costume had a variety of accessories, as a Gagnef bride was dressed. The costume was only used at the Food Fair celebration and consisted of glass beads, paper flowers, silk ribbons and "scabbard gold", a kind of gold-colored metal pieces.

  I Dalpilen on March 2, 1894, under the heading "Old customs and usages" you can read about how the celebration went:

February 22 ("Potter Cat") is considered in many places as the first day of spring and is an important day of remembrance. On this day, Gagnef also had the opportunity this year to observe an ancient custom, a kind of carnival procession, with which the onset of spring is celebrated.
A large bear was shaped from furry black fur in such a way that two minor boys' feet were on a teddy bear, which was equipped with a large and snout-headed head. A ring was also attached to the snout and a train to the ring. From village to village the beast was led by two masked and ghostly equipped young men, who had pings attached to their knees. At the head of the train, large and small, were a bride and a groom, dressed in national costume and followed by close bridesmaids. Two or three violinists meanwhile worked on their instruments, and the aforementioned bear ended the train. However, not so much, because behind him went a "pusher" with his rod. In the farms that are visited, they usually offer "filbunk", and even the bear gets some treats, which he happily grumbles receives, not with but "under" his mouth. However, no one sees the boys, who form the bear's body and who have to walk with bent backs. The evening of St. Matthew's Day is also celebrated with such a train, but the bear is not there.

Far nestled in the forest, they are scattered, from west to east. Surrounded by wooden fences and stone walls, with wooden crosses that cover the ground and stand as echoes through the history of the people who once lived and worked there, in the borderland.

During the 1600th century, a large number of swede fins settled in the vast forests in the northern parts of Orsa parish. They immigrated from Finland, at that time Sweden's eastern tip, and formed their own communities in the forests far beyond the central cities. With them they had their own language, their own culture and a different way of using the land. In the borderland they lived their lives.

Today, the remains of the old Finnmark culture in Orsa parish can be seen in Finnish place names on distant mountains and ponds. Even more, the clearest physical traces are five desert cemeteries, once part of the parish's largest Finnmark villages.

February 24 is Sweden Finns' Day. A day to both celebrate and make visible today the largest national minority in Sweden. Within the project Dalarna's Seven Wonders, we pay attention to several contributions from Dalarna's Finnmarker. One of them is the desert cemeteries of Finnmark in Ore.

Read more here:

You can read about the ongoing work to build a typical forest Finnish settlement by Lake Skifsen here:

And about Dan Andersson who was born in Skattlösberg in Grangärde finnmark, you can read here:

March 25 Marie Annunciation Day (Mary Day)

Spring Day, which is also called Waffle Day, was one of the most important anniversaries of the year. It is one of the days that divides the year into quarters with 13 weeks in each. Spring Day is thirteen weeks after Christmas Day and thirteen weeks before Midsummer Day.

A record from Sollerön about how to keep track of the time of year with the help of anniversaries instead of almanacs.

Today's placement on the year also made it important as a day of divination regarding weather and wind as well as over the harvest prospects next summer. A record from Säfsen about such predictions exists.

The day has been a public holiday in Sweden until 1953 when it was moved to the immediately preceding Sunday. If it collides with Easter week, it is moved further. Spring Day was also an important anniversary because it was the anniversary of Marie's Annunciation. This day is New Year's Day when you count years after the incarnation of Christ instead of after the birth of Christ (December 25), or the circumcision of Christ (January 1). Annual accounts from March 25 appear in medieval documents in the Nordic countries and were used in England until 1752. The practice of counting January 1 as the first day of the year was introduced in 1567 in France and Spain, 1575 in the Netherlands, 1648 in Germany and 1691 in the papal office in Rome.

Folk beliefs about Easter 1923

  • In the quiet week was not allowed to be cut or carved. If cattle accidentally stepped on such shavings - dummy folds - they would be unfinished.
  • It was also not allowed to be carded, spun or woven for thread and fabric that was made then would break.
  • The cattle must be milked and calmed before the sun goes down.
  • On Maundy Thursday, all the cream would be buttered. Then it would be easy to get butter all year round.
  • On Good Friday, no dairy food would be consumed, because it would cause boils. By abstaining from milk on this day, one would become healthy and strong in the coming year. He who did not sit still while eating would break his feet during the year.
  • Anyone who washed themselves on Good Friday would be eaten by mosquitoes and gnats during the summer.
  • To free the cattle from witches, they could eat a dough that contained lavender root, among other things. The cows that got lavender root also had no power over the forest bull during the summer
  • Above the barn door, steel, knives or a pair of liars were crossed.
  • On the wall above the door and on the cows' lower back, crosses were smeared with tar.
  • Crosses of tar-stained wooden sticks, the protected cows from evil witches and witches were hung over the cows.
  • On Easter evening, Easter fires were lit and at sunset, shots were fired over the rooftops to scare away Easter bunnies and trolls.
  • If you had taken all defenses against evil forces and the cattle still became bad, there was someone else nearby who was worse to conjure than you could.
  • On Easter morning, nature danced. If you saw the sunrise on a mountain, you could even see that the sun was dancing.
  • On Easter day, people would boil and eat eggs. Then you would become strong. The eggs were to be decorated with drawn figures and crumbs.

From Säfsen 1922 and 1923

Recorded by PE: Eriksson (born 1867) after old people at Säfsnäs old age home

Some memories of the quiet week and Easter and the names of the days:

Palm Sunday-Palmoxen


Tuesday Pork Pig

Wednesday-Dimeloxen (cf. dimmelonsdag and dimmelweek)

Thursday-Särkkusen (printing error of the record's "skärkusen" cf. cutting in Maundy Thursday)

Good Friday-Långlaten

Easter Eve (Saturday) - Stäcki goblen (printing error of the record's "stäckigubben")

Easter Day (Sunday) -Easter Easter

The last person to get out of bed was called that name all day! It was a horrible competition so that you did not come up last, and most importantly it was on Good Friday, because then the one who became Långlaten could also be beaten with rice called Good Friday horror!

Another way to "give fixed-legged rice" was to write rhymes with nasty and derogatory content about Easter bunnies, witches and blue-collar journeys. In the Easter letters, coffee pots, rakes and oil horns were also drawn, as well as old women riding on rubbish or rakes. The Easter letters were to be thrown in the door without being discovered.

Second day of Easter (Monday) Snörp i pös

Tuesday (Tuesday) Benpiken

Fourth day (Wednesday) Havrehuken

Thursday (Thursday) Krösmesen

The blue hill trips in Mockfjärd

1857, Sweden's last Blåkulla epidemic broke out in Mockfjärd. It all started with little Anna telling her grandfather about her Blue Hill trips. The grandfather, an old soldier, suspected that Anna had not been properly baptized, but that her godparents, who were supposed to belong to the wizards, completely sonic replaced her with a firewood. Anna's story was astonishing and at the same time deeply disturbing. She told how she had been abducted by evil women who brought her to Blåkulla. There she had made a pact with the Devil. Anna named three more children who had been with and a 41-year-old woman -Man Anna Hansdotter- who brought them there.

Anders Homman spoke about this dark childhood memory:

He was 7 years doh, and Anna i Mirholn was lika old - det was she that start. She tell me one morning that she have been outdoors of those Strangea trips at night, since alla fell asleep. Her godmother hade come through one cave in the wall and taken ut hene through that, då stood one hero train utfacer with en army driver, a stor old man as they call The old man. Home was collected from several heel, somliga old women could ha a calfskin on which they sat, andra a goatskin eller andnkelf eller horse with feet up. bar it in way loangt loangt: oh away crazy ä of course. At midnight were they. arrive at Josefsdal or Josafatsdal, that does not appear to have been Josefsdal vid Bastberget (one old name in a place north of the summer residence), utan lMeadowre away, i near Stockholm kperhaps.

Where gick the fenice to, they got the best, there were dances and games suitable for children and suitable for the elderly. It was going on to morning, then they must be hemma again.

The girl wakes up tired and talking om the journey, the parents begin to anxiously ask. Be someone more of grannarna with Meadowstepmother? Yes, so came it ena after the other with, and they took on sig, most children to over 15 år. There increase it out say one couple of girls in Backen said have participated, so hann that to Bröttjärna, where it was Hanses Ol es Kersti å Rice Mas to a Hemminges Per who was "drugged" together with Täpp Erik.

Oh, the parents have to ask, then went like en raceeld - nowgra boys refuse, others said they were me; it now always godmother who was "divorced" (shoot).

Gagnef's pastor thought it was superstition and wanted to silence it all. Four years later, however, Robert Blumenberg had been assigned a post as deputy communist in Gagnef, and he reacted differently to the witch accusations. A total of about 130 children, of which about half in Mockfjärd, stated that they participated in Blåkullafärer.

April 23 is Saint Goran's Day. Saint Goran or Örjan, from Georgius, is the patron saint of several countries such as England, Georgia and Ethiopia. He is also the patron saint of scouts. He is a saint mentioned in antiquity but is perhaps best known for the legend that he saved a princess and her city from a dragon. However, this legend was only added in the Middle Ages. Saint Goran also appears in Islam and in Lod in Israel there is a combined church and mosque in his honor. 

Saint Goran occurs both globally and locally. Together with the Virgin Mary's mother Anna, he was important to the mountain men, and at Stora Kopparberg's church the medieval mountain men gathered in Saint Örjan's guild. Several hundred years later, Saint Göran had survived the Reformation and also appears in valley painting as late as the 1800th century. 

In Floda, there is still a tradition of dressing up as Valborrar or as they say in the dialect "Vâllbôrre". Whale drills are disguised people who should preferably be "uglier than the trolls" and make noise by the fires on Walpurgis Night. Nowadays, the purpose of the disguise is different from what it once was.

Old tradition

The tradition is very old and has pagan origins and grew up in a time when there was a widespread belief in the unknown as trolls and other supernatural beings. By dressing "naughty" and making noise - among other things with the help of cow sources - the inhabitants wanted to scare the uninitiated and large predators from the vicinity of the area before cows and small animals would be released to forest pastures.

Running children

Early on the morning of Walpurgis Night, the smaller children, both boys and girls, gathered to walk around the farms. I have not found any written evidence that these were disguised. On the other hand, the children have collected a lot of cow springs and pings that they hung on, and then in groups ran around between the houses and made noise. The children ran to the various branches of the vestibule and rattled the barks; The "whale drills" are out, they said. Running with barks was a completely independent custom that was only performed by the children. The purpose was to scare away beasts from the countryside, especially the wolf, as the cattle would be let loose on pasture. They fired, shot and made noise with barking, knocking on frying pans, shouting and shouting. This baldness was of a magical nature. In several places in Dalarna, this running with barking has occurred, previously also by older people, but has recently been concentrated on the children.

Twilight figures

Towards dusk, on the other hand, Valborrarna arrived. Several authors have described them in literature and articles, the earliest description is written by Maximilian Axelsson in his book about Västerdalarna in 1855;

“But it suffers towards spring and the Valborg Fair occurs. This is a special loss for the youth. It is not enough to light the usual fires here on the Election Book Fair evening; there are also a number of antics, which probably rarely, if ever, occur in other places. So-called "election stretchers" - large and small one after the other - are then dressed up in all sorts of motley rags, the worse the better, because it is part of these people's role to make bold leaps in the middle of the blazing fires. Otherwise, they run for most of the evening around under wild screams and occasionally blow in ox horns. All this has been customary for ages, to frighten the predators out of the forests, when the herds of the countryside are let into the pasture. "


Masking is most often associated with African, Asian and North American cultures, but there is also masking in the folk traditions of our northern countries. Internationally, these popular wanderings are called "mumming". It is the simplest form of a kind of theater which has no given script but it becomes what it becomes based on different conditions. Some important elements in these antics, however, are cottage visits, disguise where women and men often change roles and the usual, normal order and boundaries are put out of play. With the help of masks, you can hide, hide, camouflage and hide a real situation.

Slanting pucks

Over the face were worn slanted beads that were often made of fists, fabric or socks. Skråpuk is a mask that is as scary as possible and is used for the purpose of scaring away evil forces. The word comes from the ancient Swedish skra (dry skin) and puke (devil). Under the protection of the mask, one could joke and take the opportunity to tell some truths.

River residents tell

In an interview in 2009 with a number of river residents about the walrus tradition, Sven and Elsa Zetterkvist, born in 1924 in Holsåker and 1926 in Syrholn, told us that they had both been walruses countless times.

I have been Vallborre for fifty years, the last time I had my boys with me. In the beginning, they took a severed leg and cut holes for the eyes. Then they stuffed in wadding under the underwear leg at the forehead, on the nose, on the cheekbones, on the chin. Then it looked as if you were lumpy in the face. Then they painted the mask, with red on the mouth and soot around the eyes. You could take the strings to hair, you would dress as "naughty" as possible, Sven said.

Elsa remembers that one year they met at Pellarson's Anders in Syrholn. He dressed as a river woman in a river suit and Elsa as a river man also in a river suit. Then they went to the homestead where there was dancing. Then they danced with hills and boys alternately.

Once I was completely dressed in black and went to the folk park, Elsa said. There I met Father and asked in a disguised voice: Do you know who you are talking to? No, he said. It's Elsa, I said. No, I do not believe that, he said.

Once I did an extension of the head with a chicken net, then I looked out through the mouth. Then I covered everything with fabric. And another time I made a mask with very big eyes, I got hold of an old transparent ball which I took apart and which I glued to the underpants, then the eyes came to look big, then I painted everything as "naughty I could ”.

Bought sloping faces

Sven and his three brothers started the company Bröderna Zettervist, which had masks in its range, from the start in the 1940s until the 1980s when the store was closed. In the beginning, pressed cardboard masks were imported, then plastic masks and finally rubber masks. These masks were called "Scratch faces".

Those who were Valborrar came later to the fires, when it started to get dark outside, you had to finish in the barn first before you could dress up. They would make a big noise and they shot with gunpowder. I once remember a man, it was below Junis who was going to make a cannon out of a boot shaft, but it burned off too soon so he shot off his whole leg, Sven said.

I also asked Elsa and Sven if they had been part of the tradition of running with barkers, how they were dressed, how old you were when you ran and how long the tradition was alive in Floda.

  • "Of course we have. We did this in the village. Mån skull spring gålmilla mä skällôr ô väsnäs, men hä tog slut mä jolbrukä. Ä va båra bara sôm sprang, ja int sprang mån då nô ättät man ha ga fram fram heel. Vårä bar ran then, hä va ugly at sjuttitâlä, men dôm va nog dôm senstâ.

Of course we have. We did it in the villages. You would run between the farms and make noise, but it ended with agriculture. Only the children ran and did not do so after confirming. Our children ran, it was well into the 70's, but they were probably the last.

In 2014, together with Karolina Kristensson, a photographer at the Nordic Museum, I made a more comprehensive documentation of the Walruses in Floda. A positive surprise was that the number of costumed people has increased significantly. Both children, young people and adults show off their costumes around the fires, on the village street and even on the disco floor at Strandbacken's folk park in the dark night.

Sorcery against accidents in forest and land.

Source: Messages from Dalarnas hembygdsförbund 1920, pages 30–31
Records from Äppelbo parish by Emma Nordström

Sorcery and shock

The cows. When all mouths open, that is, on Sigismund Day, the cows would come out. An old shoe with glowing coals in it, along with the scissors would then be placed inside the team yard threshold. It was a protection against accidents in forests and on the ground. The first time the cow was allowed to drink after calving, a knife was put in the ceiling. The first time she ate, a horseshoe was put in the garbage and at the first milking a sewing needle was put in the stall and milked over it. When the milk was brought in, it would be spread over, so that the cow would not have pain in the udder.

When the cows went out in the spring, they smoked in the bark with juniper or had flour and salt in it. No one could then enchant them.

The stem:  Wooden bucket
Garbage: The cows could get "casting", or "sip" where boiled water was poured over various ingredients such as chaff, chopped straw (chopping), rye, barley or oatmeal, pit, boiled potatoes, scratched leaves, hay, prey and potato tops. The animals also received salt or, as examples from Skåne and Halland show, salt herring or herring.
The source: Bell, Ping. When the cows were going out to pasture, a barking cow or several got a bark in a leather strap around their neck. Then the herd could easily be located even if it was out of sight.

Fäbodbruket was a necessity for animal husbandry in older times. Forests and outfields must be used for grazing to save the valuable land around the villages for cultivation.

Fäbodbruket had its own regulations and traditions of many different kinds. The very day when the animals were moved to the shacks was also surrounded by different rules. The day when the animals were moved to the shacks was often set to a certain date that could vary from parish to parish.
Both Isabella Day, which fell on May 31 between 1901 and 2001, and Aina Day on June 13 are mentioned. From Gagnefsbyn Moje, Olof Montelius (b. 1882) allows us to accompany him on a camping trip to the summer cottages on June 10, around the turn of the century 1900:

The big day in early summer was "buffalo day", when we "buffrâ tä buan", that is, moved to "buan" (shacks) with cows, goats, goats and horses for grazing on "bulöten". Before this day, it was important to do everything in order for this move. We thus had to shoe the horse, which after arriving at the buan was released into the forest to enjoy the grazing on the bullocks for a few weeks. Before the release, we barked at the horse and cut the owner's name in the hair coat on the rump, the loins. The day before departure, we properly lubricated the cart's wheel axle with oil and packed the bean bags with all kinds of necessities such as empty butter exchanges and food for ourselves and the "holes", the summer pasture hill. (……)

Buföring to the shack, Gagnef parish, 1890-1910. Unknown photographer, Nordic Museum

The "buffer day" as this day was generally called at least in Moje, while in some parts of the parish it was said "the buffering day" was always June 10, unless that day was a Sunday, when in that case it was June 11. According to a special agreement between the co-owners of the various summer pastures, no one was allowed to the hut with any grazing animals before this day, but well later. This provision was made so that no one would have the opportunity to compensate their grazing for their animals before all the others. Early in the morning that day there was life and movement in all the farms in the village. The journey began at fifty in the morning, so that you could reach the cabin at a reasonably good time of day, especially as you always have to expect to be able to stay quite a long time at the ferry in Mockfjärd, where hundreds of animals of various kinds were waiting to get come over. (… ..) From each farm, a man and a woman usually accompanied the buan to the buffering. (……)

Upon arrival, the women immediately started washing all the trays, bowls and other wooden vessels and scrubbing all the pots. The floors in the cottage and the milk chamber were also scrubbed, and household utensils and beds were given the necessary inspection.

After these works were completed, the women used to be ready to go home to the evening of the following day. The men were allowed to stay for another day or two, before they were ready to go home. The horses were released on the bait, as soon as we arrived at the buan. On the evening of the same day we got there, we gathered in one of the cabins for a "house meeting", where we discussed and decided on matters common to the summer pasture team, such as regarding bull keeping, maintenance of roads, bridges and more.

The next morning we gathered down on the "square" in the cabin equipped with axes or shovels and divided ourselves into groups of two or three in each group. Each such group had the task of following the main road out through the respective cul-de-sac and clearing the way from felled or blown trees and repairing bridges over streams, bogs and anthills, so that the cows did not have to risk stepping through and getting stuck or breaking their legs. (……)

The day after the day work walk, we used to, with the common exception of the summer pasture forest, cut up the throwing wood, which was consumed in the summer pasture cottage during the year. We then drove this wood to the cottage in the winter, when we went to the cabin for manure. After we cut the wood and looked after the fences, we were ready to go home from the hut. (……)

Gammelsätern, Särna. Photo: Valdemar Dixen, Dalarna Museum's archive

Fäbodkullan's task during the summer was to take care of the cattle, graze them. This herding was previously literal, in that the summer pasture hill accompanied the cows all day and meanwhile engaged in knitting socks and mittens or sewing underwear. Since the "hölarna" (heaths) gradually undertook to take care of more and more cows, it became more difficult to keep up with all the work at home at the cottage, where the cream would be churned into butter, the skimmed milk prepared into cheese and the whey boiled together into meso cheese, all time consuming to do. In addition, there was milking and washing of the many milk vessels. These were at first wooden trays and bowls, which required a particularly careful washing. Then came the tinned metal piles, and at the turn of the century they began to be increasingly exchanged for separators.

At that time it was decided that in the morning they would only accompany the cows out to the aisle and leave them there, when, after eating their fill, they would go home in the evening. If this clicked, the hubs had to go out and look for them, which, however, did not happen so often. If there was a lack of grazing, the cows could of course be late in the evenings.

During the 1890s, a summer pasture hill had a salary for an entire summer - the period 10 June to around 15 September - 50 öre in cleaning and 2 kronor in cash salary for each cow. In addition, in kind an elf linen weave came in for each cow, diet and clothes during the "herding season", ie the time, calculated on the number of cows, which amounted to each household, and a party day in the spring when the cleaning was received, and sometimes a ditto in the fall, when the salary was paid. The clothes provided during the guessing season were such that the hem of an old time was more like a modern Easter cut than an ordinary human being.

Erik Thorell
Antiquarian, Dalarna Museum

Source: Moje - Working life in a Gagnefsby around the turn of the century.
Olof Montelius in 1962.

"Ho ä fine as e missömåsbru"

With pearls around her neck, a flower wreath in her hair and a brisk apron around her waist, her grandfather's sister, Linnea Jobs, later married to Lysell, is fully clothed in the middle of the ring. The year is around 1920 and Linnea is 10 years old. She and the girl on the right have this year been honorably selected as this year's midsummer brides and the whole area's children and adults have gathered in front of Jobs' "old cottage" in the village Hedby in Djura in Leksand parish to participate in the event. Photographer Hans Per Persson has climbed on a carriage or on the gatepost with his travel camera to capture the event. The bride and groom have already made their way around the farms to get something to donate. The evening now ends with ring games and dancing until well into the evening.

In my family's photo album there are a number of photographs that have always made me curious. Three of them represent my grandfather's sister Linnea who in 1920 is dressed as a bride and the third shows grandfather's sister Hanna who in 1913 is one of the girls in a child bridesmaid. I have made sporadic attempts to ask people what the children in the pictures are doing, but without getting an answer. No one remembers anymore why the children are dressed as the bridal party. But now I will try to calm the curiosity. In our museums, in the archives and in sagasmen and private collections, there are records, pictures and objects that can help to tell about phenomena that have disappeared over time.

Bridal walk in springs

As a child or teenager, dressing up as a pretend bride or pretend groom has taken place on various holidays in several parts of the country. In most of the records, the traditions are linked to various antics where the most important elements are a walk with a costumed bridal party, a visit to a cottage with begging and finally music and dance. In some places it was a shame to be chosen as a bride, in other places it was an honorable assignment. When the tradition of being a bride was coveted, the most popular and beautiful girl in the village was chosen, who was dressed in full bridal outfits and with all the baubles that belonged to her. The church could even lend its bridal crown. Elsewhere, it was difficult to get hold of volunteer brides and grooms because there was a belief that you would not get married if you borrowed to play bride or groom. There are many examples of different customs associated with festivals, which follow this scheme of antics. The masking means that the usual, normal limits are set out of play and the participants can hide and hide a real situation. Other examples of antics of this character are star song, Easter bunnies, Halloween and more. 

In the early research on the bridal party, parallels are drawn between the return of spring and vegetation and the fruitful ritual wedding. A couple of researchers who launched these theories are the folklorist Wilhelm Mannhardt (1831–1880) and the anthropologist James George Frazer (1854–1941). They brought forth the belief in tree spirits and vegetative spirits and a magical connection between spirit and man. The twig and flower-covered bride and groom were seen as vegetation spirits or fertility symbols that could help the forest to sprout, the field to germinate and buds to sprout. The performance was not just a metaphorical drama to entertain people but a rite to transfer the inherent power of vegetation to become happiness in houses and homes and throughout the countryside.

Professor John Granlund wrote in Saga och sed 1970 about "Pentecostal bride and play wedding in Sweden". He believes that the purpose of circumventing child weddings was several. In some places they would collect gifts to hold a party or party later in the evening and in other places it was a masked begging. From Östergötland, near the monasteries, there are a lot of records about the presence of Pentecostal brides. Based on these, among other things, Granlund claims that paintings, sculptures and plays were a pedagogical tool to spread the church's message to a popular, concrete level. Christ is likened to the bridegroom and the church to the bride of Christ. The Pentecostal bride was originally a creation of the bridal mysticism based on the Catholic monastic environment and none other than the bride of Christ, the Virgin Mary according to the medieval monks.

Today, there is considerable agreement that people have created intervals in social life with the help of year and life cycle parties. The social order is put out of play at the party and the participants perform in roles that do not belong to everyday life. Eva Knuts writes in an article about pretend brides in Masks and mummings, that the pretend wedding in the 1800th century was a way of portraying how important it was to get married, because the unmarried woman had a very small place in society. The voluntary and coveted pretend bride with wedding was an appreciated activity that is remembered in several records as the biggest day of the whole year. But when the bride, and in some cases the groom, were forced into the activity, the pretend brides had to put up with shame such as begging, coercion and sexual allusions.

Midsummer brides

Pretend wedding on midsummer evening or midsummer day is described from several provinces, from Halland in the south to Ångermanland in the north. Most of the evidence comes from Västmanland and Dalarna. It is also in these landscapes that the tradition seems to have lingered the longest. From Halland there is a record of Elna Nilsson (born 1842) from Hishult parish, which describes how she herself was appointed a midsummer bride in 1860 in connection with the Maypole being dressed and raised. A leaf hall, which was covered with sheets inside, was made and there would also be a treat before the dance around the Maypole.

The most beautiful girl in the village was to be crowned this year's midsummer bride, and everyone agreed on who it was. No one but the happy Elna in Hultet would be the worthy one this time… The young gentlemen probably cared about each other about who would be the chosen one, but no one was sure of anyone determined, because Elna was probably the one who did not talk in advance about who the chosen one was. would fall on. The youth were gathered. They only waited for the bridal party to come staggering from Hultet to the room for them, which adorned the palace. The wait was not long, for soon the fiddlers were heard. Little Troeda, Bengt's well-known marching melody, and there comes Elna, with her, no doubt no doubted groom, adorned with a crown of straw with many fluttering ribbons. The multicolored home-woven dress had been adorned with a lot of borrowed silver, which must have been jewelry for many real brides before. The village's grandmother would have liked to have released her baubles so that everything would be as solemn as possible.

In Småland, brides could be dressed several times a year and it was a matter of honor for the various villages that their bride would be as close as possible. The brides were compared and judged and therefore the people of the area lent out chains and baubles to make "their" bride as beautiful as possible. The wreath was made of midsummer flowers and cornflowers and the trailer consisted of thin shawls.

Charlotte Johansson, born in 1836 in Kumla, gives a description where the mill contained allusions to both eroticism and fertility, where the young woman was expected to be the ideal and pure bride:
Too far back in time, while still dressing cornstarch, in villages and farms, they used to pick out, a young girl tea fair summer bridge, and it must have happened that they took the one who was considered the most handsome, who looked best out, å were well-built, ie were well-grown, and who was at the same time a virgin, whom no man had been allowed to camp, had sex with. She would have the roses of health on her cheek, it was called, and that Mass summer, she would be allowed to go with Fri, so that no boy would be allowed to go to bed, but on the Mass summer evening, she was appointed tea village, or. yesterday's most beautiful, tea fair summer bridge. -She was too beautiful tea quirky, you should have her, tea look at just look.

Midsummer brides in Dalarna

"Ho ä fin som e missömåsbru", is an expression that survived in Boda in Dalarna long after the practice of dressing midsummer brides disappeared. The ancients used the term when they wanted to talk about how beautifully dressed someone was. The sagas from Boda remember that both the midsummer bride and groom appeared in the middle of the 1800th century.

Another example comes from Svärdsjö where the villages' midsummer brides would compete with each other for the most beautiful equipment. Anders Backlund was a quarterman in Svärdsjö in the years 1888–1908. When he was interviewed in 1925 about the mill with a midsummer bride, the custom was already abandoned. In his memories from his youth and from his time as a bay man, he remembers the midsummer bride. “One of the most beautiful folk customs from childhood was to adorn the midsummer bride. She was the most beautiful girl to be crowned and adorned with all the flowers of the ground. ” The wedding crowd would then march from yard to yard to show the bride. After the road, people had gathered and you got "gifts". Once upon a time, the boys would go to the neighboring village of Ön to watch their midsummer bride. After the road, they met the wedding crowd on the way home. The boys then began to shout swear words at both the bride and the whole entourage with comments that the bridal entourage could not compete with Storbyns in either equipment or condition. When they were then offered a drink from the bride's stench, they continued with their swear words: “Were you a beer spa, beer soup, Ös-pers (the farm the bride came from). Do you love beer in a pot? ” Immediately the messenger went to the bride's home, and in a hurry her resolute grandmother came to intervene. Backlund says that when “the old woman grabbed the designated person in the kalufsen and it was a moment of work to bring down the unmentionable and with the surface process the body part that at that age is most exposed to danger and that the old woman possessed a certain habit and skill in the execution thereof witnessed the frequent blows, and when the delinquent, after well-tolerated debauchery, caught up with us, the return journey began in a much lower mood than the return journey. ”

Photographer: Hans Per Persson around 1920 at Jobsgården, Hedby, Djura. Lars Liss archive

In the 1910s and early 1920s, the rural photographer Hans Per Persson took about ten photos of the midsummer bridal party in Djurabygden. In most pictures, there are two girls who are midsummer brides. They are distinguished by wearing wreaths around the neck or flower wreaths or ribbons on the head. Both girls and boys participate in the entourage. No boy wears a sock suit, but a dark suit or sailor suit. The girls have festive attire with the finest scarf and a few rounds of colored glass beads around the neck, which the bridesmaids wore at the wedding. The brides wear the finest aprons of blue raspberry. Around the waist they have belts with pewter enamels from which silk ribbons hang down on the apron and on top of the silk bodice hang several turns with colored glass bead chains. In their hand they have either a flower bouquet, a leaf shaker or a grass broom.

Photographer: Hans Per Persson around 1920 at Jobsgården, Hedby, Djura. Lars Liss archive

In my research on the midsummer bridal tradition, it is in Djurabygden in particular that this beautiful custom has lingered farthest in the country. On the one hand, photographic material has been preserved that indicates that the tradition lingers during the 1920s, and on the other hand, Karl-Erik Forslund describes the tradition in Djura in his magnificent work "With the Dalälven from the springs to the sea, the eleventh book Ljura och Gagnef" in 1921:

And on Midsummer, the children played mäsömesbrod: chose a maid with huckel and tjäband (chains), a groom who is also usually a girl, å brusätu å brupiger-and they do they still were midsummer. The entire wedding party marches through song and music through the village streets and finally stops in a courtyard, where they get refreshments and play ring games. The old people and language also gather there and look at the youth's joy in cosiness and holiday peace. "

Midsummer Brides 2018

Dalarna's museum documents older traditions in Dalarna and in January 2018, some interested people met to discuss whether we could resume the tradition with midsummer brides. We looked at pictures and studied costume parts. During the spring, two midsummer wedding costumes were made, which this year will be shown at the Midsummer Day celebrations in Hedby. In connection with the celebration, Dalarna's museum exhibits pictures of the midsummer bridal tradition and that there will also be a short lecture about the midsummer bridal tradition in Djurabygden. Hopefully it will become a tradition that can be implemented every year in the future. If you have pictures or information about the midsummer bridal tradition, please contact the author of the article.

Special thanks to Lars Liss, Olle and Per Florén, Kerstin Klinga, Ulla Adefalk and father; Hans-Olov Jobs who assisted with knowledge and pictures.

Article author: Anna-Karin Jobs Arnberg, operations manager and antiquarian at Dalarna Museum

Do you want to know more? Below are reading tips.

Fazer, James George. “The golden bough. A study in magic and religion ”. London 1922

Forslund, Karl-Erik "With the Dalälven from the springs to the sea, book eleven Ljura and Gagnef". Nordiska boktryckeriet Stockholm, 1923.

Granlund, Johan "Pentecostal bride and play wedding in Sweden" Saga and custom. Kungl. Gustav Adolf's Academy Yearbook 1973.

Hovilainen, Erla "Child guest boat, flower bride and patch bride" Budkavlen 18, 1939.

Jacobsson, Bengt "Nils Månsson Mandelgren in Östergötland". Stockholm LT 1985

Knuts, Eva ”MockBrides, Hen Parties and Weddings, Changes in Time and Space” Masks and mumming in the nordic area. Uppsala: kungl. Gustav Adolf's Academy of Swedish Folk Culture 2007.

The Nordic Museum's archives, EU 14011, 14070, 14078, 14112, 14527, 16528, 17768, 28420

Pictures in the article

Lars Liss Archive; Photographer Hans Per Persson
Private collection; Photographer NP Florén
Private collection; Photographer Grop Lars

The Midsummer celebration was in older times, when the summer pasture farming was still fully widespread in Dalarna, a matter that was often celebrated at the summer pasture huts. When it was time for haymaking in the home villages, which took place sometime in mid-July, a party was set up. This party was called komidsummer party and has taken place in several places around the county. The name komidsommar probably derives from the fact that you "buffered" your animals home; cows, goats and sheep, so that they could graze in the village's outfields and that it was time for haymaking. When the work was done, they "buffered" back to the shacks. There was dancing and games at the summer of comedy and in some places the festivities developed into a tradition where tourists came to participate and view the festivities. In other places the tradition died out and instead it was replaced by midsummer celebrations with maypole raising which took place at different times for several weeks in the different villages. 

In a newspaper notice from July 1915, one can read that Stora Skedvi was still celebrating Comedy Summer;

"At half 3 the gathering was blown at Fäggeby and shortly afterwards a party train, depicting the youth returning home from the summer cottages, pulled through the villages. The train, which numbered 90 participants, was met by musicians, flag-bearing schoolchildren, and riders in sock suits, and formed as it pulled between the dense crowds. A stately and beautiful sight. Everywhere you could also hear the spectators expressing their admiration for the atmospheric "comedy summer train".

The only area in Dalarna where people still celebrate komidsummer party or "kofest" as they say locally, is in Dala-Floda and the festivities now always take place the second weekend in July. Over the years, the Komidsummer party has developed from being a festive festival with speeches, dancing, games and amusement park to a market with bangs and in the evening a folk park party. Already during the first half of the 1900th century, special trains were chartered just to get to the comedy summer party in Dala-Floda. With, among other things, the raggar culture of the 1970s, the festivities became so large and uncontrolled that the folk park party was paused. Nowadays, Komidsummer Saturday, the second weekend in July, is a day with a craft market, a concert in the church and dancing at the folk park.

One of the autumn's first anniversaries is 24 August, which is called Bertilsmässodagen or Bartolomeimäss or simply Barsmäss. Until 1752, the day was a holiday, one of the four apostolic days during the year. The weekend was celebrated with Christmas Eve the night before. In Säfsnäs, the day was called goat and bait fair because everyone who had slaughtered a buck or some bait = gumse to Bertilsmäss. The party has been called a beef fair scale but also a bagpipe scale because now the first bread could be found that was baked from this year's grain harvest. In Dala-Floda it is mentioned that they also played the apple game, but there is no description of the game itself. Apparently it was so well known a hundred years ago that no further description was needed.

How famous is it today?
Feel free to contact us and tell us how - and when - you played the apple game!
Do you recognize any of the descriptions that are available on the internet today?

“You place two large tubs of water on each chair and put an apple in each tub. Then place the layers (two layers) in a row about 5 meters from the chair and tub. It works so that you have to run to the tub and only with the help of your mouth get a firm grip on the apple and show that you got it then it is next and so on. The teams that first ate the apple completely win. ” Contribution from: Lars Fröjmark ”Source Lekarkivet.se

“You take a large tub of water which you then put lots of apples in. The participants are divided into two teams. Then they should try to pick up the apples with only their mouths. The team that has picked up all its apples first wins.
NOTE !!! Only with the mouth ” Source Kalasguiden.se


St. Michael's Day is a church celebration in honor of the Archangel Michael. It falls on the first Sunday in October. The holiday was originally celebrated on Mikael's name day on 29 September, but has been moved to the next following Sunday and therefore falls between 29 September and 5 October. Mickelsmäss, "Meksmäss", was one of the biggest anniversaries of the year in the farming community. Then the breeding year ended and the animals were taken home from the summer pastures. Many chores would then be completed and the harvest would be salvaged. It was also then that markets were held and the servants were paid, began their "free week" and were able to apply for a new job. It was also a popular day for partying and dancing. Mickelsmäss marked the shift between summer and winter, and that it was time again to produce the leather clothes that had not been used in representative contexts since Valborgsmäss, which marked the beginning of summer. You also had to start lighting candles in the evenings.

At Mickelmäss and Mikaelidagen there were a lot of weather signs and marks in nature that were used to predict what the coming winter would be like. They looked at frost, snow, ice and leaves on the trees, the strength of the wind and how clearly the Milky Way was visible in the firmament.

A penny print that began to spread in 1831 is the beautiful song "Om Mikaelidagen".
Variants are recorded from, among others; Orsa, Enviken and Äppelbo in Dalarna.
The variant below is recorded after Petters Per Persson in Bäsna, Gagnef, and can be found in Margareta Jonth's book "Visor från Dalarna", printed in 1975. It consists of eight verses, the first two of which are reproduced here:

About St. Michael's Day, which falls this year,
I'm thinking of leaving here.
But I have no one who mourns me then.
Nor do I shed a tear.

-I waited for you, my little friend,
Like the bird after bright day.
For every time I see your eyes
Then I will be so heartily happy.

Man and woman in parish costume, Boda parish. Photo by Anders Wiborg.

October 14 is an old anniversary that is marked in the runic calendar with a leafless tree. The day is also called the first day of winter or Calixtus.

The winter months were counted from Calixtus 14 October and the summer months began with Tiburtius 14 April. Calixtus is the name of an old pope and to the left of the tree is the miter which is the symbol of the pope. The important thing about the day has been to mark that the summer chores are over and that the winter chores begin. Until 1752, Calixtus Day was one of this year's anniversaries, which is shown by the fact that it has been marked with a half cross above the row with the runes of the weekdays.

The runic characters mark the days of the week that are written here with the runes FUTARKH.

The other anniversary days that are visible are

September 29 Mickelsmäss, the name comes from the archangel Mikael. At this time large markets were held. Salaried employees had received their salary for the past year and had a week off to be able to change jobs and move.

October 4 Francis of Assisi, including the patron saint of animals. The brothers and sisters of the Franciscan Order wear brown robes and today is celebrated as Cinnamon Bun Day.

October 7 Birgitta Day, the name comes from the Swedish saint Saint Birgitta who was canonized this day 1391.

October 18 Evangelists Luke. The bull is his symbol.

October 21 The martyr Ursula and the eleven thousand virgins.

The picture shows a detail of a cane with a runic calendar (DFK 174). According to oral tradition made by the artist Erik Persson in Folkärna. As a model, the carver may have used the runic calendar printed in Uppsala in 1748 by Carl Carleson "Short and clear teaching, how to understand and use the rune staff, the third time, and with several remarks, and a beautiful piece of copper added."

Celebrating Anders' and Anna's day seems to have started around the first part of the 1800th century. The reason for the name day celebration seems to be that the names, Anders and Anna, were very common in Dalarna. The first-born girl was often christened Anna and the first-born boy Anders. In a record from Leksand, it is said that anyone was allowed to take part in the circumventing celebration and it happened that it was mainly school children and young people who dressed up and haunted themselves. As clothing, they had, for example, turned coats so that the fur was turned outwards or that the boys could dress up as girls and the girls as boys. In the evening they visited farms where there were name day children to celebrate.

They had slanted pucks -a mask made of twigs, cloth or a sock for the face so that the name day child would not be able to recognize the visitors. The word skråpuk comes from the ancient Swedish shout (dry skin) and puke (Devil). Under the protection of the mask, one could joke and take the opportunity to tell some truths. The celebration of Anders and Anna was on pretend and during the walk one or two songs were sung and instruments were played. In Leksand, the costumed were called "fir men”And from the parish there is the following text sung to the name day children:

Today is Anders / Anna day and your name is beautiful and if you want to obey the law, the coffee cheer should come.

In some places it was not so careful that there was an Anders or Anna, the most important thing was that the children could knock on the doors and get something good to donate. The name day celebration seems to be something that many longed for because during these evenings there was the opportunity to be out late in the evening and that the costume played a big role.

Masking is most often associated with African, Asian and North American cultures, but there is also masking in the folk traditions of our northern countries. Internationally, these popular walks with masks are called "mumming". It is the simplest form of a kind of theater which has no given script but it becomes what it becomes based on different conditions. In Dalarna, we have had a number of festivals celebrated with so-called "mumming" and many of them have for various reasons disappeared during the late 1800th and first half of the 1900th century.

The celebration of Anders and Annadagen seems to have ceased as a tradition in Dalarna around the 1960s.

Text, Anna-Karin Jobs Arnberg

Source: Masks and mumming Tradition in Sweden-Eva Knuts

December 9 is called Annadagen after Anna who was the mother of the Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus. The day was also called "Anna with Kanna" and was a landmark day for the brewing of Christmas beer and Christmas drink. Christmas was a series of holidays associated with ample supply of good drinks. The Christmas brew would also last until the 13th day of Christmas. A single farm could need to brew as much as 200 liters!

"The night before Andersdagen, the youth of the villages dressed up - they wore face masks and walked in the courtyards, where there were men named Anders, they had a fiddler with them and they took a turn inside the cottages, so the house people could sit and look at. It was the same with Annadagen on 9 December "Anna with a jug brews good Christmas beer". It was in a yard they came in one evening before Anna's day, they took a turn, they pushed to the cottage table, so a kerosene lamp spun down on the floor, and broke. The lamp went out due to the air pressure, this happened in 1896. " Narrated by End Walle recorded by Sjur Anders Edvart Andersson in Älvdalsåsen. Record from Älvdalen in DMA 2654.

There is a big difference between the ugly louse men and the sweet maiden who is now in the public consciousness as the symbol of Lucia. Before Lucia was shaped to become the friendly woman with a white dress, red ribbon at the waist and light in the crown as we see her today, there were other figures as well. Lucia bride with circle and dance, which is reminiscent of the previous examples here, is mainly documented from the western landscapes. Lussebruden is described either as good, beautiful and coveted or as ugly, loose and fond of men.

TV From Varbo and Heden's farm in Falun. Photo: Carl Axel Fahlvik. Th Luciabalen 16 December 1944. Photo: Sven Berg

From Bohuslän, Västmanland and Värmland it is described that it was not at all successful but shameful to be chosen as a bride because she was considered loose and fond of men. A record from Öxabäck in Västergötland in 1840 states: "In my father's youth, they wore bridesmaids, but she was dressed in the worst you could think of, so she should not have had that name. She had a snuff box and went and offered snuff… ”

In Bohuslän and Värmland, they preferred to take a bride who had an illegitimate child and they had no respect for her but tried to lure her into bed. An expression that lives on in Bohuslän is that "the one who was once a bridesmaid, she never gets a wedding dress", which also made the bride prefer to be married. Inga Olsson, born 1857, from Dalby parish in Värmland, says:

In Dalby parish, people used to walk around several in the farms and offer coffee and bread on Lusse morning. One would represent the bride and be dressed in white with a crown of heather and paper flowers, and one would be the groom. He would look naughty, have a lichen to his beard, a vest with a skirt, shorts and low shoes. Then there were several girls with candles in their hands and one who had a handkerchief with candles on his head, who carried the badge, Spelman would also be there. And so the girls danced. They received linen and other gifts.

In Dalarna there was also the tradition of going to Lusse. In a notice in Falukuriren from the year 1923, you can read that in some places the youth, the night before Lucia, walked around the countryside, all disguised as unrecognizable. They wore loose masks or blackened faces. The company was dressed as chimney sweeps, masons, tinsmiths or "vagrants" and offered the house people their services. In eloquent words, the good reputation of the house people, their fine furniture and the appearance of the farm were praised. Some of the more eloquent in the party could also try to marry off the house's daughters. Instruments were played and as a treat you either got coffee and food on site or you collected money or food items in a basket you brought with you.

A very detailed record of Lucia as a popular bride, with full bridal equipment and bridesmaids, comes from the village of Vallerås in Malung in Dalarna. It is Larshol's Brita Hansdotter, born 1859, who tells the following in 1936:

It was in Holen in Vallerås in 1864 or 1865… It was just before midnight. We woke up to violin music from outside the hall. Lucia entered courted by six bridesmaids, called Lussikraskôllör ("Lucia wreaths"). They went to the middle of the cottage floor. Lucia stood in the middle with a dice on each side. The others stood in pairs in the middle of each other and behind Lucia. The music fell silent. The bridesmaids sang lollipops, which I do not remember. After the song, Lussi went and offered the children brought sweets, consisting of Lussi crosses or as they were also called Christmas crosses, wheat buns that looked about like two crossed S, one backwards. They were made of ordinary wheat bread. It was rare in Vallerås at that time. When I was invited to Lussikors by the Lussi bride, I saw that it was Beri Ingeborg, who was the bride. It was a neighbor girl, who was very beautiful. She was wearing Malung's sock suit and had a veil. On her head she wore a chandelier of lingonberry rice. I remember it so well because mother said that "Ingeborg will never be anyone's bride, as she has put on the louse crown" The crown would not be worn until you went to the bridal chair. If you did, you never broke up. Beri Ingeborg did not become anyone's bride either, because she died before that.

The attire of the bridesmaids, the "Lucia wreaths", is also described: "They wore the sock suit and had 'la' on the outside of the 'hats' around the braids, just like the usual 'wreath hills' of that time, ie bridesmaids. Under the 'hats''s the tips of the bureau's glitter rose ribbon, and around the waist a tie-around ribbon was tied which hung down on one side of the skirt, down towards its edge. "

In 2000, the leather tailor Täpp Lars Arnesson from Malung and the singing teacher Maria Röjås from Boda recreated a Lucia train at Malung's folk high school based on this record. This Lucia wedding procession has since been carried out on many occasions in Malung's church. In 2004, SVT showed this, for the common man, unusual variant of morning Lucia to TV viewers.

"Then no rust (bridge rust) will flow, then no lady will spin, then no mills will run"

The folk traditions around Thomas Day look different in our Dala parishes. It was generally considered that Thomas' Day, December 21, began the Christmas peace and the day was until 1772 a public holiday.

The day has been celebrated around the county and it marks the end of Christmas peace. All Christmas preparations such as baking, candle casting, slaughter, washing and cleaning would be ready before Thomas Day. The common denominator, however, is that it is a day where you have to be extra careful.

The reason for this caution was that the winter solstice, and thus the longest night of the year, falls around 21 December. During this dark and long night, there were various creatures on the move. It could be Santa, Näcken evil spirits or Tomas himself who was in motion. This meant that on this day in particular one would not work with something that required a movement that went around, so-called "circumvention"

A record states that:

After Lucia, Thomas Mass was celebrated. Then the trolls started moving. The usual order of nature was disturbed and if you did something in those days it would fail. "Then no rust (bridge rust) will flow, then no lady will spin, then no mills will run".

St. Thomas' Day was also a market day in many places. In Falun, Tomasmäss was celebrated with a supermarket on both Stora torget and Helsingetorget, which was previously called Gamla Torget.

In some places, Tomaskvällen was an evening when the Christmas drinks were to be tasted. In Floda and in Nås, this evening was called "Tônnkannskvällen" and it was celebrated on the last Sunday before Christmas. Then it would be drunk thin and the young people of the area would gather to taste each other's beer and brandy. It is also generally called this evening "Thomas' filling barrel".

Tomaskors, Dala-Floda

A nice holiday that is mentioned in several places is the setting up of Tomaskors, Christmas tree or Christmas sprouts. In Älvdalen, these rods consist of tall spruces that are pruned and barked so that only the top rush is left. These are tied together just below the top rush. The length of the Christmas sprouts could also tell how rich a harvest one would get the following year. The Christmas sprouts were then used for hashish.

Tomaskors from Älvdalen.

Karl-Erik Forslund's Christmas practice dictates how these Tomas crosses were important for the coming annual harvest:

And from Thomas to the glittering spring,
will Christmas sprouts two,
stand and gate at the gate,
green summer, good harvest, a blessed new year.

When Carl von Linne makes his journey through Dalarna, he describes these strange wooden crosses as follows:

Outside the gate, 2nd high narrow debarked spruce poles are placed at Christmas time, hinc juhl poles, which stand all year round, where they are not otherwise needed. In the manure pile is placed a cross of a pair of two-finger widths, cut into thin leaves and leaves, which are hooked at all ends, made of pine.

Drawing by Carl von Linné.

Christmas was the darkest time of the year and the sun appeared only a few hours in the middle of the day. Only at the weekend of the thirteenth did the sun begin to rise higher in the sky and it was fortified by walking around with a star. This walk, with or without a star, could take place throughout Christmas, from Christmas Day to the thirteenth day and the time of the walk has varied between the parishes.

In Bingsjö in Rättvik, until the end of the 1800th century, there was a custom of begging for Christmas. This begging took place on the third day of Christmas or Christmas Eve as it was called locally. It so happened that The Christmas beggarsor The Staffans boys gathered in an entourage. First, a horse was driven that pulled a sled where the driver was sitting. Attached between the sledge's slides was a rope attached that trailed behind the sledge. A bar with a drilled hole was attached to this rope. In this hole sat an iron skewer with a wagon wheel inserted. Two dressed-up Santa Clauses held, on each side of the wagon wheel, a firm grip on the iron skewer. The wheel rocked back and forth in this way and rotated around. Behind this "vehicle" went a fiddler who played the song "Now it's Christmas on a three-day night”. After the fiddler came the beggars with their big sacks and behind them flocked children, old men and women. Meanwhile, the young women organized a Christmas party.

The entourage moved from farm to farm and The Santas made fun of his rocking wheel for public ridicule The fiddler stood below the porch and started the begging song that the Christmas beggars sang to:

Now it's Christmas on Tuesday night
oh there's something wrong with the keg,
oh now the barrel is all over
so then nothing reaches the team.

Meat, cheese and pork on herring next
and everything that is in the house
oh a little brandy in a jar.

A we do not get a piece of light
in each gall
so bire dark outside houses
å inge brandy uti kruse.

In each farm, the beggars received food and drink that were saved for the joint celebration in the evening. But before they left the farm, both the driver, the Santas and the beggars each got a drink.

In Malung and Tyngsjö the custom was that on Christmas day you were not allowed to go anywhere, it was a shame, but on the second day you went to the farms and sang Staffan, Staffan Stalledräng. Judas with a bag by the belt begged for money and brandy, Judas' old woman begged for food, then Santa Claus came out in fur with wool, a link around his neck, horns, beard and leather hat, he would have food in his mouth. And the entourage increased with someone from each farm, usually the elderly "They went mostly for the sake of the brandy."

In Enviken, more precisely in Marnäs, staff marches took place on the evening of the thirteenth. This is how the sage Hans Hedberg tells about the tradition in which he himself participated in the middle of the 1800th century:

We were four boys' corps, the three wise men carried a star, the judge had a long-haired white shirt on say on paper hats on hugu, on a star earth we: krumälurör in the way seltjispapper övör höla, å jus fastsätt ini, då var grånnt värrö, nä döm snoddö mä na ”.

At each farm they sang:

Goof the evening, good evening, so mångo somhär finns, house fader, matagainster, wasen gletcill withoutn. We wish edis alla one delightefullt years, in alla accidents bevare eder Gud.

Inside the cottage, the wise men would go straight to the table and then stand there all the time completely silent with their eyes on the wall.

Josef, seam yes forisltd ö, hadd en large luin pälso and sokråbarightsekt (mask), scrotum and en stawe hand and benen surroundede with Halm. Nahrja came in, so skull ja say: »Kära Purple i stove, sideboard mig half pigsen, becausecker Mother det is for myckshy so give migett smaller stycky. Matenskjen, drecka ifaskjen, sTump av peopleSun, brandy in krusö, Lithuanian potatiso on Jävläfisk ”.

They also sang: Kära far iugnen, ge mig en slant in purseen.

And when you have received the gifts: Tack, tackWithkall sheat ha, att hon givit rightgtoch noa, all for den peoplesa spondan

The tradition of Star Boy Hiking lives on in a few places in the country. Among other places in Grycksbo where the children in grades 4-6v still walk around the farms and sing staff songs.


With Dalälven from the sources to the sea: Väster-Dalälven. Malung and Enviken and Svartnäs
Fataburen 1909 "Jultiggarne eller Staffansgossarne i Bingsjö".

If you want to read about the wandering Stjärngossarna in Nås and in Gryckbo, there are articles in
Dagsverket year 2015 number 4

Anna-Karin Jobs Arnberg


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