A voice for newcomers in Sweden

#SwedishChristmas: How a folklore tomte became Sweden's Santa

The creature who went from the floorboards of farmhouses to the embodiment of Swedish Christmas, here painted by Jenny Nyström.

Published: 06.Dec.2018 07:59 hrs

Every day until Christmas Eve, The Local explains the unique history behind Swedish Christmas traditions in our own Advent calendar.

Like many iconic storied figures, the Jultomte is the child of centuries of folklore and tradition combined with cherished modern literary and artistic interpretations.

Although often referred to as the Swedish Santa, the archetypal Jultomte is really only nominally a Santa Claus, whose origin story goes back to the 4th century Saint Nicholas. Jultomten, on the other hand, originated as a tomte – an ancient creature akin to a sprite that, according to Scandinavian folklore, lived in the hidden spaces of buildings on family farms and brought both good fortune and mischief to residents and neighbours.

Read full article on The Local

More Stories

Anas Awad with his "Swedish family" told his story to The Local Voices

Sharing the best of The Local Voices

We told a lot of great stories in 2016. Did you get to read and share them all? READ
Key figures of the international community are expected to attend Sweden's international conference against anti-Semitism next year. READ
The Local's contributor Victoria Martínez tells the story of how Swedish women won the right to vote. READ
... and one company is behind 83 percent of all Sweden's patent applications. READ
Who gets a vote, what are they voting for and why does it matter? Here's everything you need to know. READ
Photo: Erik Gerhardsson

'History will record how everyone reacted to the Syrian tragedy'

Erik, a 21-year-old Swedish volunteer, reflects on his experience helping refugees in Sweden and abroad. READ
Benny Andersson from Swedish legend pop group Abba has thrown his weight behind a campaign to vote down plans for a major new prison in Svedala, the leafy area outside Malmö. READ
If you want to live in one of these places, you'd better be prepared to cough up. READ
A career in sports doesn’t necessarily mean training to become the next Olympic champion, Eye Of The Tiger style. Sport is much more than competitive entertainment, athletic prowess, or school yard keepie uppie challenges - it has the power to bridge divides and to create a more sustainable, equal society. READ
The father of an 11-year-old girl killed in the Stockholm 2017 terror attack will not get the full compensation requested. READ

This Iranian teaches Swedish online to 10,000 followers

"I’m exporting Swedish to my homeland." READ