Swedish in Cleveland

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Out & About - Photos and Event Recaps


Swedish Christmas Traditions

Karen Chilcote from the Nobel-Monitor Newsletter says "We all know the story of Lucia and the traditions of Christmas in Sweden-many we carry on in our own homes each year. But it's fun to revisit the story and reminisce about Swedish Christmases." In this article she shares some traditions including Advent Stars, the julbord, the Yule Goat and even Donald Duck!

1916 Swedish Christmas card with Lucia in the snow

1916 Swedish Christmas card with Lucia in the snow

See more Swedish holiday traditions


How long does Sweidsh Christmas last?
by Bo Carlsson

Swedes may be a little confused about when Christmas is actually over - but I suspect the tradition to make Christmas last a little longer has more to do with the desire to extend the enjoyment of the decorations, the festivities, and the lights in the darkness of winter. Indeed, with sunrise in Stockholm just before 9 AM and sunset at 3 PM at the end of December, who wouldn't like to have a little more light and warmth and cheer?

Read more about Christmas in Sweden

Santa Lucia Celebration

The Swedish Vasa community hosted a Swedish Lucia celebration on Saturday, December 8, at 4 p.m. at Church of the Saviour in Cleveland Heights. The program began with a winter concert of the Vasa Voices, directed by Judith Higbee, singing traditional winter and folk songs in Swedish. Following the vocal concert, the Lucia procession took place.

Santa Lucia procession 2018 in Cleveland by the Swedish community

Lucia procession 2018

More photos from the Swedish Santa Lucia Celebration

Leif Erikson Day 2018

The Scandinavian community of Cleveland, including those from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland gathered at the bust of Leif Erikson in front of Shooters in Cleveland's Flats to celebrate Leif Erikson Day.

Posing for photos with the Leif Erikson bust

Leif Erikson was a Norse explorer regarded as the first European to land in North America (excluding Greenland), nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus.

Catherine Jorgensen McCutcheon modeled a tradional Norwegian costume or bunad as she led the toast

Catherine Jorgensen McCutcheon

See photos and a video of the 2018 Leif Erikson Day in Cleveland


Lucia Fest

The Nobel-Monitor Lodge #130 Vasa Order of America hosted their annual Christmas and Lucia Fest on December 6, 2015. Highlights included the songs by the Vasa Voices Choir and the Lucia procession and songs by the children.

Santa Lucia procession

Lucia Procession

Santa Lucia Procession and Songs

Vasa Voices Choir of Nobel-Monitor Lodge #130 Vasa Order of America

The Vasa Voices Choir of Nobel-Monitor Lodge #130 Vasa Order of America performed at the 2015 Christmas and Lucia Fest in Highland Heights (Cleveland) Ohio.

Vasa Voices Choir

Vasa Voices Choir

Vasa Voices Choir

Oktoberfest in Scandinavia

The Octoberfest events in Scandinavia are very popular, and not only among local beer lovers! A Scandinavian Octoberfest is a great celebration when the warm weather diminishes in fall. Despite the name "Oktoberfest", most Oktoberfest events start in September.

Oktoberfest in Scandinavia


Easter in Scandinavia

Quite a peculiar national tradition in Norway is solving crimes during Easter. Publishers churn out series of books known as "Easter Thrillers" or "Påskekrimmen". Even the milk cartons change during the Easter season to have murder stories on their sides!

"Pääsiäinen" in Finland is celebrated with Easter egg hunts for the children. The hard boiled, chocolate, or candy eggs are hidden in the house or garden. Children also walk between houses, handing out twigs or decorations in exchange for a few coins.

In Denmark, there is a unique "Påske" tradition of sending teaser letters with little poems anonymously on Valentine's Day. If the recipient guesses who sent the poem, he or she receives the reward of an Easter egg.

In Sweden, children dress up as Easter witches with long skirts, colorful headscarves, and painted red cheeks. They go to neighboring houses presenting drawings in hopes of getting sweets in return. Folklore says the witches fly to "Blåkulla" (Blue Mountain) to meet the devil.

Another "Påsk" tradition is to place feathers on small branches of willow or birch in a vase.

By Karen Chilcote


2012 Leif Ericson Day celebration in Cleveland

Bengt Gerborg with Viking Hat in front of bust of Leif Ericson

Bengt Gerborg with Leif Ericson bust


Santa Lucia 2010
Forest Hills Presbyterian Church - December 11, 2010

Swedish Girls in Santa Lucia costumes

The Nobel-Monitor Lodge of the Swedish Vasa
Photos from the 100 year anniversary

Marty Bergman and Karen Arvidson Chilcote with 100 Year Anniversary cakes

Marty Bergman and Karen Arvidson Chilcote
with 100 Year Anniversary cakes

Santa Lucia Celebration 2007
Photos and Video from the Forest Hills Presbyterian Church

Organizations and Resources for Swedish in Cleveland

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Business, Education and Employment Information

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Cleveland Swedish Feedback and Memories

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Swedish History and Culture

Tell us about the music, food, holidays, traditions, costumes, language and other qualities that make Swedes so special.

Swedish girls in Santa Lucia Celebration

Santa Lucia Celebration

History and Culture of Sweden

Julbocken - Swedish Christmas Goat

Darlene Nelson with a Julbocken

Darlene Nelson with a Julbocken

Swedish Pepperkakar Cookies
Delicious recipe from Cleo Love

A military power during the 17th century, Sweden has not participated in any war in almost two centuries. An armed neutrality was preserved in both World Wars.

Sweden's long-successful economic formula of a capitalist system interlarded with substantial welfare elements was challenged in the 1990s by high unemployment and in 2000-02 by the global economic downturn, but fiscal discipline over the past several years has allowed the country to weather economic vagaries.

Sweden joined the EU in 1995, but the public rejected the introduction of the euro in a 2003 referendum.

(facts courtesy of CIA World Fact Book)

Submit your Cleveland Swedish cultural items.

Profiles of Swedes in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio

Susan Stone Lanphear
Planting Seeds of Faith at Home and Abroad

If you know of a Cleveland Swede who should be profiled,
please let us know.
ClevelandPeople.Com - Swedish Ambassadors

Dr. Bo Carlsson
Bo Carlsson

Read more about the Swedish and other Ambassadors. If you are interested in being considered to be an official Ambassador to the Cleveland Swedish community, please contact us.

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