December 01, 2009

Counting Down To Christmas Eve.

December has arrived.
This is the first winter month and thus the beginning of a new season. It is the time of dark days, long nights, of wind and rain, sometimes snow. Of frost and bare landscape, cold hands, red noses and sleepy eyes.
However, December is so much more than just that; it is also the Holiday month. A time of joy and expectations, no matter whether you are an adult or a child.

We all surely recall the incredible impatience we once felt as children, looking forward to that night of magic, which seemed still so far away, once December begun. In Scandinavia, the wait has been eased by a very sweet tradition. The tradition of burning Calendar Candles. These are candles that come in all shapes and sizes, with one common significance: a column of numbers printed on one side.
Starting with number 1 at the very top, all the way to 24 at the very bottom. The candle is lit every day and the number corresponding to the date is burned away, making the wait, particularly for children, slightly more exciting. Of course, if you are like me and have kept a childish mind, this is a wonderful daily simple pleasure throughout the month of December.

I dedicate this post to the lovely Blog Princess G, who expressed such a delightful interest in this Scandinavian tradition last year; I hope she will enjoy the daily Christmas countdown this year as well, as I post it on my sidebar in the following weeks.

24 comments:

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

Lovely! There is something mystical about firelight--candles, fireplaces. I love the calendar candles! Am going in search! C

Kath said...

I have been given many lovely Christmas candles over the years, but could never bring myself to light them! I couldn't bear to see Santa melting and going all mishapen!

Sumandebray said...

A count up to the Christmas .. the first time I have seen something like that. Great to know a new thing!
You asked about that car. You know in this part of the world a car needs to cleaned regularly or esle it gets covered with dust. That particular car must have been lying there for 6 months and hence got covered by all those dust and people have left some sort of graffiti on the dust!

Keith said...

I love candles at any time of the year. They are really beautiful at Christmas. It is great to learn about how different cultures celebrate Christmas. I was watching a special on that this weekend.

Diane said...

And? It's the month of the Solstice! That's my favorite 'holiday' in December - when we get to welcome back the sun. I know it's a while before you'll get to really see it, but you'll know it's coming! :) xo

Claus said...

What an interesting way to get to Christmas!I have seen candles alike in catalogues and magazines, and wondered how they worked and who would follow such a tradition.
I love to learn about the customs and traditions in different countries and I am looking forward to learn more throughout December! :-)

Brian Miller said...

what a cool candle...i still get excited...every year...my boys just feed that fire...

Michael Manning said...

Such a nice tradition that is heartwarming and signals a time for children to feel excited about Christmas approaching! :D
xo

Gal Friday said...

This entry remended me of that lost feeling of the bubbling over excitement and wonder I felt at this time of year! I'll never feel that again...
How nice to learn that you still keep and burn down an advent candle still... :-)
I grew up with a ring decorated with pine boughs and four red candles we burnt each Sunday before Christmas Eve.(and I always had an Advent calendar which I had to take turns opening a window each day with my sister)

Hilary said...

My sweet friend, you embrace traditions more tenderly than anyone I know. You're a gem.

sprinkles said...

I've never heard of or seen a calendar candle like this! How very cool! I wish I could buy one. Interesting tradition.

Poetikat said...

Suzana, I haven't heard of this tradition, but I think it's wonderful! I can't put out too many candles with the 4 cats, but one big one might work.

We have a music cd called "A Danish Christmas". I'm looking forward to getting that out and playing it soon.

Kat

Poetikat said...

Sorry, Zuzana, I spelled your name wrong, didn't I?

steviewren said...

Zuzana, please put a link to your post about Christmas traditions last year. I would love to read it myself. Keeping traditions is what makes the season special. Just like your candle.

Grandma Yellow Hair said...

Just found you tonight and enjoyed my visit. Lovely post and will come back again soon
Maggie

Tongue Trip said...

the spirit of Christmas is catching up and theres this general euphoria i experience around this time, you may find it peculiar since im not even a Christian, rather a religious, open minded Hindu who keeps Baby Jesus in her temple at home along with my Hindu deities.
i have very enthusiastically ornamented and lighted a cozy corner of my house year after year for Christmas and then visited my school chapel for cakes and candies, the nuns are the sweetest, having shed their austerity around this time and its fun singing carols with them!
i enjoyed reading about the tradition. the calendar candles are lovely :) thanks and enjoy the holidaying and christmas and the new year! cheers!ta.

Rajesh said...

Nice post. It is one of the best months. Holiday season, happy time all in one.

Miss Eve said...

What a lovely tradition Zuzana! In Norway we are burning candles in the windows during the winter time and especially in December...All the houses are lightening in the dark and the whole land looks like a lightening magic world :-) I love that and I can't wait to be in Norway for Christmas this year...

As I told you earlier here in China there is no tradition like this...just the big stink city LOL(but the celebration of Chinese New Year is fantastic!)

Still owe you an email, forgive me my slowness!

Love: Evi

Blog Princess G said...

Thank you dear Zuzana for this lovely dedication. It means so much to me. :) I loved your first post about these candles and finally went in search for them here in Canada, to no avail. I even contacted the Norwegian embassy here, but *finally* found a place in North America that sells calendar candles. My order is in... I hope it comes very quickly so I can get lighting. Thank you for the inspiration!

Noelle Chantal said...

Christmas is already here! and yes, everybody is so excited. your tradition, lighting a Calendar Candle is more exciting! i guess you can really feel Christmas is coming very soon while seeing the numbers burned away everyday. hehe

our tradition here is just lighting the 4 Advent Candles, one candle per week of December. i see we have very similar traditions. :)

Protege said...

=C,
yes, I love to light candles and as this one comes with a purpose, it is so much fun.;)xo

=Kath,
your comment reminds me of sprinkles comment recently, she too loves candles and she collects them for he same reason, I believe.;)

=Sumandebray,
always glad when you stop by and happy to make you aware of something new.;) Thank you for clarifying the dusty car.;)

=Keith,
thank you, glad you enjoy to learn about the Scandinavian traditions.;) Always happy when you visit.;)

=Diane,
yes, I now you love the Solstice, so do I.;) The sun is coming back on that day.;) Always happy to see you my dear friend.;) xo

=Claudia,
you are always so kind and joyful in your comments, I always smile when I read them, Glad you enjoyed learning about the calendar candle.;) xo

=Brian,
yes, it is good to keep the mindset of a child; and being around them makes it so easy.;) Always happy to see you stopping by.;)

=Michael,
thank you, glad you to enjoy learning about our traditions. Thank you for your always kind comments.;)

=Tina,
yes, I think I will never give up my calendar candle.;) And yes, we too burn the Advent candles, one more each Sunday during December until four are burning the last Sunday before Christmas. Eve.;) This reminds me that it will soon be a year since I stumbled upon your blog.;) xo

=Hilary,
you are always so very kind to me dearest friend, your visits are always very much appreciated. I feel the same way about you.;) xoxo

=sprinkles,
glad you liked learning about this sweet Scandinavian tradition.;) I so enjoy as you visit every day, it means the world to me.;) xoxo

=Kat,
yes, one candle is always easy to watch. The tradition is overall Scandinavian and very popular.;) Not to worry about the spelling, I have even misspelled my own name often at other blogs.;)) So happy when you visit dear Kat;) xo

=Stevie,
I will try to link to my old posts, sometimes the linking widget below the posts shows some that might be of interest.;) So happy for your interest, dear stevie and your visits as well.;) xo

=Grandma…,
I love that name.;) Thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind comment, I always enjoy meeting new people.;)

=Tongue Trip,
I am delighted to know that you enjoy the spirit of the Christmas season in your own way, thank you for your kind words and an interesting sentiment. I love having you stopping by.;) xo

=Rajesh,
I agree completely with your words, thank you for your visit.;) xo

=Evi,
yes, we too put candles in the windows, even electric candle holders. I guess the dark days and long nights make us long for some light. I am sorry that you miss the traditional Holiday feeling, but I think that the New Year party will make up for it for sure. Always happy when you visit dear Evi.;) xo

=BPG,
you are veer welcome, I am so happy you managed to get a hold of the candle this year.;) I am wishing you many joyful evenings in its company.;) I am also delighted to know that you found an inspiration in my post just like I found in yours.;) xoxo

=Noelle,
yes, I love this time of the year, the universal joy and the happy atmosphere everywhere.;) We too light advent candles, four total; one each Sunday in December.;) So, you are very right, our traditions are indeed similar.;) xoxo

Kata Wagner Berg said...

I really like that candle!
I am gonna look for it..even if 1st time I have to burn more then a day...hehe

Protege said...

=Kata,
hope you find the candle, it is a joyful ceremony to sit down in the evening and relax while burning away the days date.;)

Hope Despite Depression said...

I love the calendar candle!! I want one! :) I must do that next year!! How very unique and exciting... Thanks for sharing this wonderful tradition with us!