Thursday, January 9, 2014

Santa Lucia Day, Gnomes, and Trolls

My dad recently traveled to Europe to visit his sister and her family. While he was in Norway, I mentioned to him that me and Bill had watched a special on Christmas around the world by Rick Steves. Steves explained that gnomes and trolls are a apart of Norway's folklore and tradition. When my dad came back from his trip, he gave me this adorable troll from Norway! I just can't get enough of the big nose, rosy freckled cheeks, and round body!

I was curious how exactly gnomes and trolls were incorporated into their traditions. I found this article by Rick Steves and Valerie Griffith that explains that on December 13th people in Norway celebrate Santa Lucia Day. Santa Lucia Day or Saint Lucy's day is considered a celebration of lights namely because Saint Lucy or Lucia is considered the light saint who broke the long dark winter days and turned them into days filled with light.

During a children's choir on Santa Lucia Day, the children lead a procession down an isle heading towards the doors, and the leader of the group always wears a crown of lit candles. This treasured tradition is symbolic of spreading light throughout their community.

 Also, on Santa Lucia Day, spirits, gnomes, and trolls are free to roam the earth for a period of time, and work is strictly prohibited. Lussi an enchantress keeps a close eye on everyone to enforce the "no work policy" and will punish anyone who attempts to work starting on the 13th.

The tradition doesn't end there. After a big feast, it is a tradition to leave the extras outside of the home over night for the spirits, gnomes, and trolls who are roaming the earth. Anyone else thinking of the American tradition of leaving cookies and milk out for Santa? This totally reminded me of that.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that trolls aren't always the typical ugly menacing creatures that we think of from children's books. Sometimes, they can be as cute as the one picture above!

I'm curious bloggers, have you been to Norway or heard more about their traditions?

Little Pink Book

1 Sweet Notes:

Kate said...

I know nothing of Norway traditions and haven't been, I would like to though!