Saint Knut's Day

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Saint Knut's Day
Knut Lavard.jpg
Canute Lavard
Also calledtjugondag jul, tjugondag Knut, knutmasso
Observed by Sweden, Finland, Estonia
Date 13 January
Frequencyannual

Saint Knut's Day [1] (Swedish : tjugondag jul, lit.'twentieth-day Yule'; tjugondag Knut, lit.'twentieth-day Knut'; or knutmasso; [2] Finnish : nuutinpäivä, lit.'Knut's Day'), or the Feast of Saint Knut, is a traditional festival celebrated in Sweden and Finland on 13 January. It is not celebrated on this date in Denmark (the Knut day was moved in Sweden, not in Denmark) despite being named for the Danish prince Canute Lavard, and later also associated with his uncle, Canute the Saint, the patron saint of Denmark. [3] [4] [5] Christmas trees are taken down on tjugondag jul, and the candies and cookies that decorated the tree are eaten. In Sweden, the feast held during this event is called a Knut's party (julgransplundring, literally "Christmas tree plundering"). [6]

Contents

Origins

Canute Lavard (Knut Levard in Swedish) was a Danish duke who was assassinated by his cousin and rival Magnus Nilsson on 7 January 1131 so he could usurp the Danish throne. [7] [8] In the aftermath of his death there was a civil war, which led to Knut being later declared a saint, and 7 January became Knut's Day, a name day. [3]

As his name day roughly coincided with Epiphany (the "thirteenth day of Christmas"), Knut's Day and Epiphany were conflated to some degree. In 1680, Knut's Day was moved to 13 January and became known as tjugondag Knut or tjugondedag jul (the "twentieth day of Knut/Christmas"). [8]

Finland

On nuutinpäivä, a tradition has been observed which is somewhat analogous to the modern Santa Claus, where young men dressed as goats (Finnish: nuuttipukki) would visit houses. Usually the dress was an inverted fur jacket, a leather or birch bark mask, and horns. Unlike Santa Claus, nuuttipukki was a scary character (cf. Krampus). The men dressed as Nuuttipukki wandered from house to house, came in, and typically demanded food from the household and especially leftover alcoholic beverages. Unless Nuuttipukki received a salary from the host, he committed evil deeds. [9] A dialectical proverb from Noormarkku says: Hyvä Tuomas joulun tua, paha Knuuti poijes viä or "Good [St.] Thomas brings Christmas, evil Knut takes [it] away." [10]

In Finland the Nuuttipukki tradition is still kept alive in areas of Satakunta, Southwest Finland and Ostrobothnia. However, nowadays the character is usually played by children and now involves a happy encounter. [11]

Sweden

In Sweden St. Knut's Day marks the end of the Christmas and holiday season. It is celebrated by taking out the Christmas tree and dancing around it. Nowadays, the feast is mainly for children. [6]

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Saint Lucys Day

Saint Lucy's Day, also called the Feast of Saint Lucy, is a Christian feast day observed on 13 December. The observance commemorates Lucia of Syracuse, an early-4th-century virgin martyr under the Diocletianic Persecution, who according to legend brought food and aid to Christians hiding in the Roman catacombs, wearing a candle lit wreath on her head to light her way and leave her hands free to carry as much food as possible. Her feast day, which coincided with the shortest day of the year prior to calendar reforms, is widely celebrated as a festival of light. Falling within the Advent season, Saint Lucy's Day is viewed as a precursor of Christmastide, pointing to the arrival of the Light of Christ in the calendar on Christmas Day.

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Canute Lavard

Canute Lavard was a Danish prince. Later he was the first Duke of Schleswig and the first border prince who was both a Danish and a German vassal, a position leading towards the historical double position of Southern Jutland. He was killed by his cousin Magnus, who saw him as a rival to the Danish throne. Canute Lavard was canonized in 1170.

Christmas in Norway Overview of the role and celebration of Christmas in Norway

Jul or jol is the term used for the Christmas holiday season in Scandinavia and parts of Scotland. Originally, "jul" was the name of a month in the old Germanic calendar. The concept of "jul" as a period of time rather than a specific event prevailed in Scandinavia; in modern times, "Jul" is a period of time stretching from the days before December 24 to mid-January, with Christmas and the week up to New Year as its highlight. The modern English yule and yuletide are cognates with this term.

Yule goat Scandinavian decorative Christmas straw goat

The Yule goat is a Scandinavian and Northern European Yule and Christmas symbol and tradition. Its origin may be Germanic pagan and has existed in many variants during Scandinavian history. Modern representations of the Yule goat are typically made of straw.

Candlemas Christian holiday

Candlemas, also known as the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus Christ, the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Feast of the Holy Encounter, is a Christian Holy Day commemorating the presentation of Jesus at the Temple. It is based upon the account of the presentation of Jesus in Luke 2:22–40. In accordance with Leviticus 12: a woman was to be purified by presenting a lamb as a burnt offering, and either a young pigeon or dove as sin offering, 33 days after a boy's circumcision. It falls on February 2, which is traditionally the 40th day of and the conclusion of the Christmas–Epiphany season. While it is customary for Christians in some countries to remove their Christmas decorations on Twelfth Night, those in other Christian countries historically remove them after Candlemas. On Candlemas, many Christians also bring their candles to their local church, where they are blessed and then used for the rest of the year; for Christians, these blessed candles serve as a symbol of Jesus Christ, who referred to Himself as the Light of the World.

Christmas and holiday season Period covering Christmas and other holidays

The Christmas season, also called the holiday season, or the festive season, is an annually recurring period recognized in many Western and other countries that is generally considered to run from November to early January.

Yule and Christmas in Denmark

Jul, the Danish Jule and Christmas, is celebrated throughout December starting either at the beginning of Advent or on December 1 with a variety of traditions. Christmas Eve, Juleaften, the main event of Jul, is celebrated on the evening of December 24, the evening before the two Christmas holidays, December 25 and 26th. Celebrating on the eve before Christmas is also used for most other holidays in Denmark.

Christmas in Iceland

Christmas in Iceland (Jól) starts four Weeks before proper Christmas, which begins on December 24 (Aðfangadagur) and ends thirteen days later on January 6 (Epiphany).

Christmas in Sweden Overview of the role and celebration of Christmas in Sweden

Christmas is celebrated throughout December and traditionally until St. Knut's Day on January 13. The main celebration and the exchange of gifts in many families takes place on Christmas Eve, December 24. The Lucia Day is celebrated during Advent, on December 13.

Knuts party

A Knut's party or Knut's dance is a tradition in Sweden on St. Knut's Day, which marks the end of the Christmas and holiday season, which includes Advent Sunday, Saint Lucy's Day, Christmas, New Year and Epiphany. It is also known as "Dancing out Christmas" or "Throw out the Tree".

Christmas in Finland Overview of the role of Christmas in Finland

Christmas in Finland begins, as is commonplace on public holidays in Finland, on Christmas Eve. Especially the evening of Christmas Eve has become the most important day of the Christmas period, and is nowadays a paid holiday in most workplaces. Unlike on other public holidays, public transportation stops almost completely on the afternoon of Christmas Eve in Finland. The Christmas period ends on Epiphany.

References

  1. "St. Knut's Day definition of St. Knut's Day in the Free Online Encyclopedia". Encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  2. Karlsson, Kenneth. "Knut Photos". Knutmasso Museum. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  3. 1 2 "Tjugondag Knut" [St. Knut's Day]. www.nordiskamuseet.se. Nordic Museum. 2013-02-26. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  4. Henrikson, Alf (2013). Svensk Historia [Swedish History] (in Swedish). Albert Bonniers Förlag. ISBN   978-9100136567.
  5. "Knut kör julen ut" [Knut drives out Christmas]. www.firajul.nu. FiraJul. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  6. 1 2 "Julgransplundring: Rocking around the Christmas Tree". Your Living City. 3 January 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  7. Bricka, Carl Frederik (1897). Dansk Biografisk Lexikon. XI. Maar – Müllner. p. 45.
  8. 1 2 af Klintberg, Bengt (2001). Namnen i almanackan[The Names of the Calendar] (in Swedish) (1 ed.). Stockholm: Norstedts ordbok. ISBN   91-7227-292-9. SELIBR   8372769.
  9. YLE: Nuutinpäivä korjaa joulun pois (in Finnish)
  10. "Nuuttipukin naamari". Nba.fi. 27 September 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  11. "Satakunnan Kansa". Satakunnankansa.fi. 13 January 2011. Archived from the original on 13 January 2014. Retrieved 13 January 2014.