12 December 2009

Getting in the Christmas Mood. . .

The Grand Duchess is baking a stollen this weekend!!! Can't wait to enjoy a slice or two of warm Dresdner Stollen with some fresh coffee later today. Yum! But now to our seasonal image for the day.

Here's a Christmas picture for all of you Scandinavianists (That's a mouthful!) out there. It's the Swedish "Tomta" -- or the Norwegian "Julenissen" -- depending on which side of that l-o-n-g border your sympathies fall. In Norway, the nisse lives all year long out in the barn with the farm animals. And on Christmas Eve, families need to put out a bowl of warm porridge for him, to keep their nisse happy and content, ensuring good fortune for the year to come.

is also the figure who brings toys and goodies to small children around Norway on Christmas Eve. Now, I'm not sure, mind you, but I suspect that the spirit of the Julenissen/ Father Christmas/ Santa Claus/ Weinachtsmann will also make a stop at our house late on Christmas Eve, to leave behind a few fun things for Young Master Paul and the Grand Duchess. Both of them have been very, very good this year. ;-)

Finally, for you amateur linguists who tune in to Radio Free Stollen occasionally, the Scandinavian word for Christmas, Jul (meaning Christmas), is of course directly related to the English word "Yule". . . As in "Yule Tidings" and "Yule Log". You see all the interesting bits of linguistic trivia one can pick up when devoting around a dozen plus years to the formal study of Scandinavian languages and literatures? And then practicalities dictate that you end up teaching writing and film. Hmmmmm. There's some kind of wicked pre-Christmas irony there, I am sure of it. But, oh well. Self-deprecating wit aside, enjoy your weekend everyone!


Bluebear Jeff said...


Reading your posts re: Scandinavia made me think about the Icelandic Sagas.

Do you have a favorite? If so, which one? And have you ever thought of recreating some of the battles that are checkered throughout the sagas?

-- Jeff

Stokes Schwartz said...

Hey Jeff,

Now that you ask, I like some of the shorter sagas -- if that's not an oxymoron. Hrafnkels Saga and Audun and the Bear are good as is Thorstein Staff-struck. Some of the shorter Norwegian Kings' Sagas are interesting too. Of the l-o-n-g-e-r Icelandic sagas, Njals Saga is interesting, but the others struck me as a bit on the slow side. Nineteenth and twentieth century literature are really more my thing.

Best Regards,



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