In Sweden we have a quite unique celebration called Lucia on the 13th of December. In origin it's a pagan tradition to celebrate midwinter, just as we still celebrate midsummer. The Christian church fought vigorously to extinct all pagan or to kidnap them into Christian tradition. E.g. almost all Christian saints are of pagan origin, but was transformed into saints so that pagans could be won over. All this naturally goes against what the Christian god says about "du skall inga andra gudar hava jämte mig" (not sure about the original writing, but the English translation states "you shall have no other gods before me", while the Swedish states "you shall have no other gods except me". In accordance with how many people Christianity has killed - even since the first moment Moses first came down with the tablets of this writing because they worshipped anything but god, I would assume the Swedish translation is more in accordance then the English). Aaaanyway, in the 1900's Lucia became a celebration of a Christian saint. While still dark outside and at most offices, schools, elderly homes, and so forth, a gathering of boys and girls come and sing different "Lucia songs". Lucia herself has five candles in her hair (which makes her walk very very slowly), and they all hold one candle each in their hands. Ironically, in Sweden Lucia has to have long blond hair - something that shows the old pagan origin, and rims oddly with a saint from Sicily. During these songs you enjoy a cup of glögg and a lussekatt or two.

Gävlebocken - A Swedish Tradition

In the city of Gävle they have been putting up a giant yule goat every year since 1966 at the first of advent. That's one part of the tradition, the other part of it is the battle to save it or burn it. The government do what they can and impregnate it in anti-flame materials, having guards, having cameras and so on, and then there's some from the public who tries to set it on fire before the month is over. It's so well know event that official betting exist on it. Statistically, it's pretty much 50/50. The outcome 2012 was just reported by the news, and the outcome was that it burned to the ground.

The best year so far though, was when a tourist from USA had it burned down. Got caught by the police, and stated that he thought it was tradition to burn it, and didn't know it was an offence.


Pre-Premier of The Hobbit in Copenhagen

Don't worry - no spoiler alerts here!

Being in the Tolkien society has it's privileges. Three days ahead of the world premier of The Hobbit, we were invited to Copenhagen to take part in the pre-premier. Sadly it wasn't Grand with the capital G, becuse true or not, it was said that Peter Jackson would attend the pre-premier in Copenhagen - of all places, but that Warner Bros had then come up with the (in our point of view) not so brilliant idea that only Wellington, London and Tokyo would have the big pre-premiers. Well, Wellington and London I can understand, but Tokyo when out of three? I have heard rumours about Hollywood being a biggy, although it's nice some other parts of the world gets more focus. Anyway, it was also rumours about the Queen showing up, but that she had cancelled.

On our way there from the train station in Copenhagen, a TV-team followed the brave 24 of us. This in a snowy day that the weather forecast put as a level 2 blizzard - stay indoors. In this weather, this brave little Hobbit went as Hobbit's do - without shoes:

Once inside we got to go through the red carpet with all the flashing cameras and video cameras  Although everyone of us 24 got filmed, I got quite happy about being interviewed directly by the TV (sadly I never found out what company it was). Thank you Melinda for having the presence awareness to take a photo of me at this moment!

We also got some official photos and videos taken when walking down the stairs, but those from my camera sadly suffers from bad lightning:

Galathil at the gates:

Some beautiful elves from Malmö's Tolkien society, Angmar, posing:

So what about the movie itself? Without giving any spoilers away - which I know I would be killed for by some friends... the movie takes you exactly all the way through chapter 6, a not that stunning 108 pages into the new Swedish translation by the name Hobbiten. If you make almost three hours of film out of that, you all understand it wasn't completely true to the book. Some will like the extra, some won't, and some will hopefully do so after a few runs - just like with the Lord of the Rings. 3D or 2D? Sadly I'm still a pro 2D person. The colours are just that much better, and it never fail you with something feeling like it just hangs in the thin air. Still, as 3D comes and goes, this one was really well done.


Laundry for 宝宝

We bought new baby soap, and washed all the clothes for the first time. Right now it's so cute and fun - but I'm pretty sure it soon will be just as fun as ordinary laundry...


We went to the Christmas market in Lund this year. I really like the area at Kulturen since it's stuck into the small alleys of all the old houses. It was indeed very cold, but the snow didn't start to fall until the next day. A little sad for the timing since it would have been so lovely to go with the horse while the snow fell. We had to compensate that with going to the City Park and feed the ducks in the snow instead - something I'm quite sure the ducks didn't mind.


Mo Yan

Mo Yan received the Nobel prize in literature, and at least Swedish media now have roughly 1/3 about him and his books, and 2/3 about how could they let anyone who's a member of the Chinese Communist Party win a Nobel prize in literature, and that it shows that the literature prize now has degenerated.

I'm very surprised of this mentality, and for a few reasons:
  1. H C Andersen put notes in his diary when he masturbated, but does that make him lesser as one of the greatest story writers of time? Naturally not, only if you hated masturbaters would you come to such a fallacy conclusion.
  2. How can the literature price be degenerated if the committee looks away from the current policies of their countries, or their own political views, and instead only emphases someone's skill with literature? Isn't that rather to show integrity then to, as has been suggested in some newspapers, sell it out?
  3. I do however agree that one Nobel prize is very degenerated from Nobel's will and hardly shows any integrity. That however is the peace prize. That one where the commitee themselves states that they don't care about Nobel's will, but have "modernized" it, well, not in those exact words, but that's the meaning of it. A meaning often seen in their actions in giving prizes to whom they see do politics they approve of - weather or not it has anything to do with peace at all. At some times even to winners that wage wars, or want war against something that the committee approves of... Gladly I'm far from being alone in having noticed that, and that link is far from the only person or group that wonders.
I hope the Nobel prize never becomes a political prize like these people (including the peace committee) wants.

Update: I'm clearly far from alone in my view of the peace prize.


Mid-autumn festival

We celebrated the Mid-autumn festival with two other couples that also are accustomed to it, a South Korean and a French/Chinese one. Dinner was served with the hotpot, and afterwards we naturally had mooncakes. I've had it before, but then with more luxurious ingredients (read weirder), but this time it was coconut, which turned out to be my favourite, egg, sweet beans (sweet as all hell!) and purple sweet potatoes.


2nd Dragon

The 2nd dragon was born today, and turned out to be a little boy. We don't have a name yet, but will update later on. Only one dragon to go - ours!


Baby trolley

A lot of differences but also similarities exists between the view and equipment for babies between Sweden and China. One big difference is our baby trolleys. When we checked in Beijing, we saw that most trolleys goes for about 300 yuan, but in Sweden it almost only seems you can find the luxury delux versions, and we just bought a set (Brio go) for 10 000 yuan... But before you faint, at least you get some goodies for all that money. It has three sets you easily switch between, the laying down part, the sitting part, and the car protection stool and they are all interchangeable with just a click. Added to that the quality is really nice and differ a lot between what we saw in Beijing.

Xue still thinks it's so cute every time she sees a father walking the baby in its trolley.


With steam train through Österlen

We took a day to Österlén with the "Sweet"-family to go with the old steam train. Oddly enough I managed to book it on the last day of the season, seems to be a pattern here...


1st Dragon

Two of Xue's cousins are also pregnant and will give birth within the year of the dragon, and as such we're all awaiting the three little dragons.

On the 28th of August the first dragon was born. A little girl that still awaits a name since it will get it after her 生辰八字, which is a way (as far as I figured it) to give a name in accordance with the year, month, day and hour of birth.

We wish you all welcomed and the best in this world.

PS. In China the dragons aren't evil and cunning creatures as we often see them in the West, but instead stands for power, strength, and good luck.


High Chaparral

We watched the film Dances with Wolves and Xue said she really wanted to see Indians (yes I know, not political correct to use that name, but even the tribe names/america are often given by the Europeans and as such should make them just as uncorrect). I came up with the idea to surprise her with going to a place I loved as a child - High Chaparral, just in time for the last day of the season! It's a wild west theme park in the middle of the thick forests of Småland that has a section of a Western town, a Hispanian- and an Indian part. And then events such as going with the steam train, stagecoach and steam paddle boat. The most famous part is the show that has a lot of pyrotechnic and stunts, and it's the part I love the most. Xues favourite though was the Indian dancing. The dancers all came from various tribes and especially the man who dances with all the rings were very skilled indeed! The three children to one of them were also dressed up and danced with :)


Wallander - part 2

As stated before I was an extra (statist) in a BBC production of the Wallander film Before the Frost. I naturally had to check out how the long and cold efforts did me justice. Well... unless you really know it's me, there's no way in the world to know I'm in it!

On the scene from the first picture you see me as the man in the middle in the group of three to the further left. Impossible to know it's me.

In the other scene from later in the film, you see me walk pass in the background. It's so blurry no one wouldn't know it's me. And no, I have to point out that I'm really not that fat, but it was very cold and we extras had 4-5 layers of cloths.

At least I know it's me :)


囍 - dubbel lycka

At the warmest day in Lund this summer, the wedding ceremony took place. It wasn't with as much glitter and spectacle as the one in May will have, but rather with the nearest family.

We got married at the Rådhuset and after that we headed home for a tea ceremony hosted by Xue.

Later in the evening we went out to a restaurant and thanks to the lovely weather - which rarely is this nice, we could sit outside in just our shirts until midnight.

To be allowed to show the pictures of my better half, I must emphasise that it's not to much water melon in her tummy, but rather a more and more spacious 宝宝.

PS. The "real" ceremony will be later in China. Which also works well with their traditions where you first get married, and then later on hold the ceremony.