Saturday, 15 November 2008

The Lantern Festival

Makaila and I ventured out in the wind and the rain on Friday night despite her being at home during the day to stay out of just that - the wind and the rain. She's been coughing for weeks and it has been worse these last few days.

We met at daycare in the complete darkness, at the late hour of 5 pm with her father's protests ringing in our ears (someone has to be the one in every family, right?). It is now dismally dark by 4pm so it felt like it was the middle of the night and the rain beating down on my face made me question, more than once, what I was doing.

Still, we felt the buzz of excitement as we arrived with many of the kids running around in the dark, greeting each new classmate. Makaila had been excited about this yearly tradition for weeks. They were called to the table (outside!) and started with warm saft (cordial/fruit punch) and cinnamon buns. The giggled their way through this peculiar event while the parents watched or socialised with each other. Thankfully the day-long rain had eased up and it was quite pleasant standing around chatting!!

Afterwards they went in and collected their lanterns (which they had painted and designed and we had made at the last parent meeting) and went off for a walk around the area before coming back singing the songs they had been practising in the lead-up to this event.

Finally they gathered in a half circle and finished with the Swedish version of "twinkle, twinkle little star" which I am ashamed to say I do not know...

Neither am I familiar with the true origins or meaning of this tradition, even if it the third year I've been involved(!) I remember my sister and niece talking about it and I have seen a number of Mums In Sweden mums talking about it, particularly the German ones. After googling I found a couple of other family blogs describing the tradition, here and here. I also found a little booklet you can order in English and it was interesting to read Wikipedia and see how widespread the tradition is, or was.

So now I know, for next year. Celebration of the seasons - even the darkness, and in the wind and rain. I love it!


  1. Nice, I'm glad you took some photos, I never dare to:D If it makes you feel any better I've never really known what it's all about either, I've simply been satisfied with seeing how thrilled Felix is about it, thanx for filling me in!:D

    Felix has had the cough syndrome as well & was home friday, monday & today tuesday!

  2. I love the Swedish traditions here. I love how many of them are child orientated and that the children love them! (I personally am looking forward to seeing Lucia again this year!)
    I also love how here a bit of rain wind and snow is not an excuse to be inside on the computer! Children get the chance to be creative and to participate in really fun activities here, AWESOME! It's something that Sweden has got absolutely right!