Monday, 13 January 2020

dansa ut julen

Literally dancing out Christmas, some Swedish communities are celebrating Knut’s Day (previously) as the end of the holiday season by “plundering” the tree of its ornaments and ceremoniously tossing it out on this twentieth day (imagine that carol) of Yule—Tjugondag jul—set aside as Knut’s name day (see also).

Transposed from the date (except in Denmark) of the regicide of the Danish duke at the hand of his rival and cousin on 7 January 1131 due to it failing too close to the Feast of the Epiphany, for the past century and the present one, Saint Knut’s Day coincides with Malanka (Маланка—that is Щедрий Вечір, Generous Eve) or since the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1918 and putting aside the Julian one, Old New Year’s Eve for Ukraine, Russia and other Slavic lands. A syncretism of a far older folktale with instruction on how to herald the coming return of Spring and renewal and the observation that the Sun begins to turn toward the Tropic of Capricorn (the sidereal solstice and Midwinter for those in the Northern Hemisphere), it is also the last opportunity for partying and abandon before Carnival.