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Folklore: St Knut's Day 13 Jan

10 Jan 21 - 03:24 PM (#4087411)
Subject: Folklore: St Knut's Day 13 Jan
From: Felipa

Recently I read a discussion about when people take down their Christmas days. It seems some people were disposing of trees early this year, giving the unprepared local authorities a bit of a headache. Most people said they usually keep decorations up to 6 Jan ... and I notice some of my neighbours waited till the weekend after that. At least one participant in the discussion believes the Christmas season should continue till Candlemas, 2 Feb. But no one mentioned taking down the tree on St. Knut's Day, a tradition I was ignorant of until I got an email about it today.

According to mamalisa.com (Children's songs from around the world):

St. Knut's Day is a holiday celebrated in Sweden on January 13th. The day is called Tjugondag Knut (20th day Knut). On St. Knut's Day, they "plunder" the Christmas tree (Julgransplundring). If there are edible ornaments on the tree, they eat them. They also take off all the non-edible ornaments and throw away the tree.

People also take a hammer and break up the gingerbread house while singing
Nu är glada julen slut, slut, slut,
julegranen kastas ut, ut, ut,
men till nästa år igen
kommer han vår gamle vän
för det har han lovat.

Now Merry Christmas ends, ends, ends,
The Christmas tree is thrown out, out, out,
But next year once again
Our old friend will come back
Because he has promised.

This song comes from the last verse of the Christmas song called Raska fötter springa tripp, tripp, tripp (Hasty Feet Run Quick, Quick, Quick!), also known as Liten Julvisa
Lyrics by Sigrid Sköldberg-Pettersson (1870 - 1941)
Melody by Emmy Köhler (1858-1925).
Scroll to bottom of the linked Mama Lisa page for videos, music notation, and midi


10 Jan 21 - 03:36 PM (#4087415)
Subject: RE: Folklore: St Knut's Day 13 Jan
From: Jos

My tree is a live one that is brought in each year just before Christmas and is put outside again when we get a few days of mild weather, so as not to give it too much of a nasty surprise. I've been doing this for about ten years now. The weather forecast promises a few milder days next week, so St Knut's day might be perfect.


13 Jan 21 - 05:18 PM (#4087807)
Subject: RE: Folklore: St Knut's Day 13 Jan
From: Felipa

Today's the day.

I asked a Norwegian acquaintance if the custom is the same in Norway. She said the recycle the tree and smash the gingerbread house on the 12 th day of Christmas so it's already done. And she doesn't know of any song for the occasion.


14 Jan 21 - 10:07 AM (#4087901)
Subject: RE: Folklore: St Knut's Day 13 Jan
From: AnMal

I'm trying to teach my English husband about this :). I grew up in a part of Sweden where ST Knut's day (Tjugondag Knut) was the official end of Christmas and celebrated at times with a 'julgransplundring' - a party for children in the area, when you had a last dance around the tree before you 'plundered' it of all edible decorations and then danced it out of the house singing the song Felipa posted above. A julgransplundring was almost as much fun as a Christmas party if you're a kid, and at least in my home we had to take strict turns smashing the gingerbread house. My father and grandparents on his side are from Norway and they had the same tradition in his home when he was growing up - I strongly suspect that what matters is not if you're from Norway or Sweden, but where you're from in Norway or Sweden (or Finland, I know at least some parts of Finland keep Tjugondag Knut as well). I have Swedish friends who had never even heard the words 'Tjugondag Knut' before I talked to them about it.