We didn’t plan to do anything for New Years except stay up in our apartment watching movies. It turns out we were treated to to quite a show anyway. Let me back up. Fireworks are legal in Sweden (unlike in Southern California). Starting the day after Christmas, we were treated to a constant barrage of the whistle and pop of small firecrackers and bottle rockets every few minutes, 24 hours a day. At first I thought maybe it was a Christmas tradition and it would die down. But the frequency of the bangs only increased as the days went on. As we got closer to New Years Eve I realized that the Swedes probably had a stash of fire crackers saved up for New Year. But why were they wasting them? They were going to run out. At 11:59pm Dec 31st, I thought we were going to be treated to the whiz bang little bottle rockets and people hitting pots and pans together like in California. HA! Did I ever underestimate them! At around 10 minutes to midnight, I began to hear louder bangs and much more frequently. So I grabbed my camera phone and when to the window to see this.
(Sorry for filming it sideways. You may want to watch it in full screen mode.)
As you can see, Swedes apparently stockpile a huge number of full-sized fireworks for New Years. I’ve never seen such an amazing display, and that includes the time I spent 4th of July on the deck of an aircraft carrier. During the first few minutes of the video you can see people launching full sized fireworks from the lawn literally just outside our window. That is, until they had 3 ground explosions in a row and decided to call it a night. At about 7:50, the display really picks up. And then a few minutes later, someone launches 3 red signal flares. It felt like being in a warzone. It was quite an impressive display.
Happy New Years!
That’s Swedish for “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!”
I just put up a new Pic of the Week on the sidebar on the right. It is an ancient lead curse tablet like the kind I wrote about a few months ago [here]. If you click the picture you can see the whole story and the translation. It’s interesting stuff.
We’re returning home in 50 days! Erin has less than a month left of classes but we have the apartment for a few more weeks. A couple events we’re still looking forward to are the Thanksgiving dinner and the antique book fair this weekend. We’ve just been doing our normal daily routine lately, nothing special enough to take pictures of. But this weekend we’ll be sure to put some fresh photos up on the blog.
Click here and Here to check out free and open scientific journals on archaeology, anthropology, archaeometry, and conservation! Many of these will only be available until Nov 4th so download whatever you find interesting before then!
The holidays are getting closer and Erin and I are excited to see how Swedes celebrate. We’re going to a Halloween party on the 29th in the basement of the AF Borgen building…
On Halloween night we’ll probably watch that disney movie Hocus Pocus and/or Nightmare Before Christmas. Those seem to be our Halloween traditions now.
Obviously Swedes don’t celebrate Thanksgiving but the university puts on a dinner for the American exchange students, so we’ll be going to that.
We want to see Christmas Eve mass in one of Cathedrals in Lund…or maybe both. Who knows? I can’t wait to hear that beautiful choir music echoing around the vaulted ceilings.
Christmas day we plan to spend a nice quiet (and hopefully snowy) day alone inside. If there is some sort of free out door Christmas event going on in the city we’ll probably go to that too.
It’s our first Christmas on our own and hopefully it will be our first white Christmas!
EDIT: Erin, here. 🙂 We forgot to mention the Christmas markets! Living in Malmö, we are fortunate to be so close to so many of them. During this time of year, shops compete in their window Christmas decorations! I hear it’s a sight to see! There will also be a ceremonial Christmas tree lighting in one of the Christmas markets, here. We will also take a 30-minute train ride to Copenhagen for a popular Christmas market in an amusement park. Another one on our list is Scandinavia’s largest Christmas market in Gothenburg! This one has more than 60 holiday booths with seasonal decorations, traditional food and drink, rides, ice-skating, and millions of lights! We are so excited to bundle up for our first white Christmas and browse Scandinavian Christmas markets. 🙂
I just checked out a very interesting book from the archaeology library. It’s called Lady with a Mead Cup: Ritual, Prophecy, and Lordship in the European Warband from La Tene to the Viking Age by Michael J. Enright. It seems to deal with the role of women, alcohol, and religion in the hierarchy of the Germanic and Celtic warband.
I. Ritual, Group Cohesion, and Hierarchy in the Germanic Warband
II. Warlords, Hetzerinnen and Sibyls
III. The Liquor Ritual and the Basis of Lordly Power to Command Followers
IV. The Archaeology of Intoxication and the Continuity of Transalpine History
1. From Lubsow to te Vikings
2. From Hochdorf to the Gaels
3. Aspects of Continuity and Oral Culture
V. Warband Religion and the Celtic World.
1. Druids, Female Magic, and Weaving Beams
3. The Celto-Germanic Warband and the Rise of the Warlord
4. Governmental Forms
5. Mercury, Wodan, and the One-Eyed Warlord
6. Rosmerta and the Veleda
7. Mercury, Rosmerta, and a Concept of Rhineland Kingship
8. The Inauguration of the Warlord
I can’t wait to dig in!