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  • Hilde Huus

The Twentieth Day of Christmas

Photo by Malene Thyssen

It was while I was working on my article about the twelve days of Christmas for the January Nordic News that I discovered that some Scandinavians count one extra day, the “thirteenth day of Christmas”, as the official day for taking down the Christmas tree. Since then, I have learned from my mother that in the area where she grew up, on the east coast of the Oslo fjord, they went so far as to recognize the “twentieth day of Christmas!” She told me that it was considered acceptable to participate in Christmas-related events, for example a school Christmas concert, right up until that date, which is January 13. But after that, Christmas was really and truly over (except for the eating of the seven kinds of cookies baked for Christmas Eve, which often lasted until Easter.)

By sheer coincidence, the day after my mother told me about the twentieth day, Hanne Sjøborg came across an article in the Local Sweden about “St. Knut’s Day”, also known as the “Twentieth Day of Christmas.” It said that “Celebrating the end of Christmas on January 13th is a tradition restricted to the Nordic countries, primarily Sweden along with parts of Norway and Sweden.” Some Nordics really know how to make Christmas last!

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