Do what the locals do and enjoy a cruise. The most popular ones are to Finland, where Helsinki, Turku (Åbo in Swedish) and the Åland Islands are the most popular destinations but Tallinn and now Riga as well as the island of Gotland are other destinations. Åland is popular for three reasons: the islands wanted to be Swedish but that was stopped by the Russians. Nevertheless the inhabitants still speak Swedish. It is closer to Sweden and a cruise takes only a few hours compared to all the way to mainland Finland. Finally, the islands are like the Canaries, exempt from the EU tax regulations and so, ALL ferries to Finland stop there for 15-30 minutes so that you can buy duty free on board :-))) Competition between cruise lines is fierce so prices are often very low even in summer (especially to Åland) if you leave the car in Stockholm and share a cabin with some friends. SEK 60 and similar ridiculous prices to Åland is common. Apart from fun, food and drink on board, you are treated to great scenery as you go for hours through the Stockholm archipelago. Children also love the cruises and are well catered for with special menus and huge play rooms. Silja line, Viking line, Tallink and Birka Cruises are the biggest companies. Viking also often offers special "theme" cruises with "Asian food", "singles", "wine", "spa", "dance band music" or similar.
Midsummer's eve is probably one of Sweden's most popular festival. Midsummer is an old celebration, dating back to the Viking Era. They eat pickled herring, potatoes, meatballs and drink beer and snapps.
Midsummer is celebrate on the longestday of the year.
They celebrate midsummer on the Friday & Saturday between the 20th and 26th of June.
Jan 1 -Nyars's Dagen (New Years Day)
Jan. 28 -Konungens Namstag (King's Name day)
March 12 - Kronprinsessens Namstag (Princess's name day)
May 1 - Forsta Maj (First of May)
June 6- National Flag Day
June 24- Midsommar Afton (Midsummer - usually around the second last weekend in June)
August 28 - Drottningens namstag (Queen's name day)
Nov.6 -Gustav Adolfsdagen (Day of Gustav Adolph)\
Dec.10 - Nobeldagen (Alfred Nobel Day)
Dec.13- Sankta Lucia Dagen
Dec 24 - Julafton (Christmas Eve)
Dec.25 -Juldagen (Christmas Day)
Dec.31 -Nyarsafton (New Years Eve)
Stockholm is a special place to spend New Year. Being a City on Water, fireworks reflect in it everywhere and the city hills are good viewpoints. The most famous way to spend your time is at the Skansen Open Air Museum, where there is a choir singing dramatic songs before a Tennyson poem is read out by a famous actor or actress at midnight. In Swedish, the lines include "Toll bell, toll" and so, nothing can be more moving than when the church bells finally DO so towards the end. A great New Year celebration, this is also shown on national TV. Just make sure you are dressed warm as even by Stockholm standards, it gets chilly on the Skansen hills at midnight in December :))) Oh, and order a taxi in advance if you're not prepared to walk. That rule is for EVERYWHERE, not just Skansen.
Christmas is a big deal in Stockholm. Holiday concerts abound, and candles burn (or glow electrically) from almost every window. Christmas markets sprout around the city, and cafes and restaurants offer Glugwein, a warmed, sweeted punch-like wine. If you have the good fortune to be in Stockholm - or anywhere in "the North" - for Christmas, you'll realize what a good idea it is to have a major festival of light and rebirth immediately after the winter solstice. This tall Christmas tree stands on Skeppsbrokajen in Gamla Stan. It's especially beautiful when illuminated at night - which is most of the time here.
Chrismas is something different for me in Sweden. There is a lot of lights everywhere & almost everybody put Avent lights in they windows.
There is different lights/candles like the normal triangle lights & then the candles.
You start lighting the the first candle on the first Sunday in December. Then every Sunday you light one candle more till all 4 candles are burning.
When easter time comes, the flower vendors all give out there twigs with feathers on them for sale. This is called Påskris and you take it home, decorate it with eggs and stuff and the wait for the buds to break.Cute, huh?
You have to have some lussekattor (safron buns)and julglögg (spiced wine)! That's my friend Christopher. We were making lussekattor for Sankta Lucia.
For more info on Sankt Lucia, check out my Stockholm Travelogues.
Lucia - Pretty young girls are selected to become 'Lucia' on the 13th of December. They wear candles in their hair and sing traditional hymns with their maidens and 'star-boys' at ceremonies all over the country. In Sweden, the festivities of Lucia Day begin early in the morning, with singing costumed children bringing their parents breakfast in bed. But the holiday continues, with Lucia processions at TV, in schools, hospitals, offices and even on SAS flights.There is something mystical about the Lucia procession entering the darkened room with their candles, their voices solemnly singing about the silence of the winter night. Symbolizing the light of faith, the Italian saint Lucia has become a Swedish icon of winter, nearly as popular as Santa Claus. This tradition has become one of the most favourite memories for the Nobel Price winners.
Midsummer celebrations. Different dates every year, this year (2000) it takes place from 23rd and 24th of June. Celebrated all over the country with dancing around a flower dressed pole, girls with flowers in their hair, snaps and pickled herring. The official celebration on 'Skansen' is a public success every year. Enjoy the midnight sun and party all night!
Over the 'bohemian' quarter in southern Stockholm, the fireworks of drunken Swedish partygoers lit the midnight sky.
It's a brand new year, 2006, and I am celebrating in the Scandinavian nation.
One crackling sound after another, throngs of midnight partyers' plant fireworks into a pile of snow, lighting the end, and waiting for the white or red colors to fill the sky.
Hasse and I held hands and admired each one from a distance.
Santa Lucia is celebrated all over Sweden and in Norway on December 13th. The custom -a young girl dressed in white with candles on her head. They serve glög, pepercakes & yellow buns that day.
Everybody gets together with friends & bring branches & garden stuff, put it in a big heap & burn it. Everybody drinks & are very happy & go home.
Sankta Lucia If you are in Stockholm during December, you have to experience Lucia! Sorry this picture is so bad. I took it at Skansen. That was as close as I could get to the stage.