Christmas trees

Sweden has the chairmanship of the European Union during the second semester of 2009. This is combined with different demonstrations with the intention to make the country better known by the other EU countries. One expression of this was the illumination of two big Christmas trees in front of the Paris Town Hall by Crown Princess Victoria last Monday. The trees were offered by the Swedish State to the City of Paris.

Here we can see the Crown Princess listening to some speeches by some officials, including the Swedish ambassador, and making her own speech.
The trees were then illuminated.

After the illumination of the trees, we had the pleasure to listen to a short concert by the Paris Swedish Church choir, on the Santa Lucia (Sankta Lucia, Saint Lucy, Sainte Lucie) theme, including the Neapolitan Santa Lucia song in Swedish adaption (you can listen to it here) and also some Christmas carols. Saint Lucy should normally be celebrated only December 13, so this was a bit early, but this is clearly part of the Swedish before-Christmas-traditions. Sweden being a basically protestant country, it’s a bit surprising to see the celebration of this catholic saint; there has obviously been a mixture of Christian and previous pagan traditions. Before the Gregorian calendar introduction during the 16th century, Saint Lucy’s day fell on the winter solstice, meaning the darkest day of the year in the northern hemisphere and there is a symbolic image of light overcoming darkness.

When the ceremony was finished, the spectators were all invited to the Swedish Institute, in the Marais, and we walked there in some kind of a procession, unfortunately under rain. In the courtyard, we were invited to some “glögg” drinking, still under rain. “Glögg” is the Nordic version of mulled wine (heated red wine, cinnamon, cloves, raisins, almonds...) . We could then go inside and listen to more beautiful singing. (There should also be a film show, but I had to leave.)


Mo said...

I wonder how many trees travel around Europe at this time. London has one in Trafalgar Square each year. Be an interesting exercise to follow up.

Karen said...

It looks like a wonderful evening. The trees are lovely and nice to see that they aren't "flocked".. I like the blue lights.
Lovely post as usual.

Virginia said...

Reminds me of the stars on la tour Eiffel last year about this time to celebrate the EU. Since my girls have Swedish (Olsson) relatives, my daughter Kathleen is making her girls and Eva white nightgowns with the red/green ribbon to symbolize what we call Saint Lucia. I remember the Swedish center in the Marais. I'll bet the processional there was lovely. Hope you had your parapluie! :) I will now go listen to those lovely carols and tell my girls to give a listen here as well. Merci!

SusuPetal said...

Jag fick aldrig vara Lucia när jag var barn, jag var alltid Tärnan. Stackars mig.

Glögg är farligt!

Olivier said...

c'est beau les illuminations de noel, cela nous fait rester enfant...superbe ta photo des chanteurs aux bougies

alice said...

Un instant, j'ai cru qu'on avait cloné ta princesse et l'ambassadeur! Une invasion de Suédois! Et tous ne sont pas blonds comme on le croit trop souvent en France ;-))
Le petit restaurant de l'institut (dans cette jolie cour pavée de la rue Payenne n'est-ce pas?) est une bonne adresse, les gâteaux sont bons et les serveuses charmantes.

Alain said...

Votre princesse est très jolie, par contre, quand tu verras l'ambassadeur, dis-lui de remonter son pantalon !

Adam said...

Those trees are nothing compared to the one Norway sends to London each year! :-)

However, if Sweden had to send two trees to everyone of the 26 other member states, that makes an entire forest!

Cergie said...

Je me souviens de la naissance de la princesse Victoria et cela ne me rajeunit guère.
Noël et les illuminations seront donc bleues cette année ?
Est ce que tu as été invité en tant que Suédois à Paris comme on peut l'être dans les ambassades de France pour le 14 juillet ?
Elle est belle la photo du dessus. Du plomb, de l'or jaune et blanc, des saphirs. Un vrai bijou

hpy said...

I see a lot of blue, but where's the yellow? Sankta Lucia, du gamla du fria (non, je crois que je mélange tout.)

Nathalie H.D. said...

A princess dressed all in blue to fit in with the blue illuminated trees, how classy!
Were you invited as a Swedish citizen or did you attend like any passer-by could?

Too bad about the walk in the rain. Glad you got some “glögg” as a reward!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, sparkling blue trees in front of a beautiful, sparkling building with a sparkling Princess draped in blue.
A lovely holiday celebration.

Mona said...

Its December already! Love those trees!

The procession seems like a Druid's procession :)

Blind Fly Theater said...

I was first taken by the song on the video and listened to it several times from another browser while perusing your enlightening introduction to Sankta Lucia. This nudged me on to experience other YouTube videos, one of which was my favorite entitled "Globen Luciakonsert - jul jul strålande jul" from a concert in 2007 (I believe).
What a magnificent tradition, and I can certainly see why it's popular... so beautiful and symbolic, and inspiring towards the march back into light.
I'd love to visit and enjoy some glögg while experiencing such a heartwarming ceremony.
David *

Kate said...

The illuminated trees are really quite beautiful and the colours are well coordinated with the Princess' outfit. Love the concert photos.

Thérèse said...

Very chic!
It reminds me of the Glüewein of the time we were living in Germany, I miss it.
Les traditions ont du bon.

Starman said...

Wow! Great pictures, especially the first one.

Anonymous said...

These are nice photos. I liked the Princess' legs a lot better than those of the Swedish Ambassador.

I was just looking at his trousers. Wouldn't the princess look odd if her hose were too long and bagged down around her ankles like his pants?

I don't understand fashion.

I do like the photographs.

claude said...

Superbes illuminations dans ces deux beaux sapins de Suède.
Je connaissais les petits pains suédois, maintenant je connais les grands pins. Je repasserai plus tard sur ton précédent post. Pas le temps ce matin.

lyliane six said...

J'ai reconnu ta belle princesse, je connais tout cela, sauf la célébration de la sainte Lucie, seulement par les photos de Michel.Tu ne pouvais pas inviter des amis? Maman est toujours hospitalisée jusqu'à mardi j'espère, car je pars le 17 jusqu'au 4 janvier.
Je te souhaite de bonnes fêtes de fin d'année .Grosses bises et j'espère que nous ne resterons plus une année sans nous rencontrer.Le temps passe si vite.

Ruth said...

Dear Peter, I feel connected here. We have a blue lighted tree in front of our house at Christmas. I told you I tried to bring Paris to the farm. ;-)

Also, I went to a small private college in Chicago comprised of mostly Swedes from Wisconsin. (Also my Grandma Olive was a child of Swedish parents, but born in Chicago.) At college we had the Santa Lucia festival with princesses and the breakfast bread. Wasn't there a surprise in the bread for someone to find?

Maya said...

Beautiful trees! I love that they are all dressed up in blue!

claude said...

Ce serait balot que cle musée de Montmartre ferme.
Les peintures de Renoir, de vrais bijoux. J'adore !

Zhang Chunhong said...

Des arbres de Noël assez simples, qui donnent pourtant bien une ambiance de fête. Que le Père Noël nous prépare de bonnes surprises pour cette fin d'année. J'aurais aimé chanter parmi les filles.

Cezar and Léia said...

Adorable post dear Peter!
It's reminds me the lovely Queen Silvia, that lived 10 years in São Paulo, Brazil! She is really kind and always says sweet words about Brazil!

** For sure I intend to go to Paris soon, mainly because my baby is coming from Brazil!Yesterday he did 21 years old, but always my baby! LOL

PeterParis said...

I guess these are modest ones compared to the Trafalgar Square one! (The Norwegians are rich!) :-)

Yes, a very simple kind of decoration! I don't know if it was offered by Sweden or put up by the City of Paris! :-)

I had not umbrella, stupid! :-)

PeterParis said...

Inte jag heller - stjärngosse! !-)

... et elles chantaient bien! :-)

Non, la princesse n'est pas vraiment blonde non plus; peut-être encore un peu de sang de Bernadotte? !-)

PeterParis said...

L'ambassadeur est lui qu'on vois en bas sur le montage. Ses pantalons vont à peu près je crois? :-)

There are too many trees in Sweden nowadays, the forest industry is dying in the Nordic countries! :-)

J'ai su par la bande des suédois, mais tout le monde était invité! Tu aurais pu venir! :-)

Jeanie said...

Oh, Peter -- this is dazzling!

PeterParis said...

Un tout petit peu de jaune derrière la princesse! Tu es aussi forte que moi pour les textes des chansons! :-)

Everybidy was invited, nos special preference for Swedes! You would have been welcome! :-)

Yes, a lot of blue ... except the sky! :-)

PeterParis said...

Yes, dear friend, December already! :-)

Thanks dear friend fo all this interest! Maybe you can find some "glögg" at the nearest Ikea? :-)

I wanted to ask the princess if the colour of her coat was chosen especially for the event, but I never came close enough! :-)

PeterParis said...

Yes, it's more or less the same stuff! Maybe the Swedish version is slightly better? :-)

You will certainly be able to see it for real; it will be there when you arrive! :-)

Actually, the trousers you refer to belong to the City of Paris representative, but even so, I agree! :-)

PeterParis said...

Pain, pins... bravo! :-)

J'étais sur que tu connaissais; tu connais tellement bien la Suède! A bientôt, sans faute! :-)

Normally you would be offered some kind of bun called "Lussekatt", which you could stranslate as Lucy's cat, but it seems that the origin Lusse more refers to Lucifer... I don't know, it's a long story. I can't remember that there was any surprise in them, but my memory may fail! :-)

PeterParis said...

Yes, it's rather discrete, but nice! :-)

Espérons qu'on trouve une solution! :-)

Une chinoise avec les suédoises! J'aurai aimé voir (et entendre) ça! :-)

PeterParis said...

Yes her mother the queen is 50% (the mother) Brazilian! ... and she is nice and much loved! :-)

PeterParis said...

Oj Jeanie, that's nice to hear! :-)

Virginia said...

Peter! YOU ALWAYS have the umbrella! :) And I did so enjoy the sweet voices singing the carol. Merci!

PeterParis said...

Almost always! :è)

Cheryl said...

I love the blue lights, especially the lights on the roof. Reminds me of starlight.

GMG said...

Everything looks pretty blue and you know that’s my favourite colour!! La Belle Princesse, to use Lyliane's words, looks quite charming; and clearly bears a resemblance to Queen Silvia, whom I've met once in 1998 at the Swedish Parliament...

PeterParis said...

Starlight... you are right! :-)

Did you speak Portuguese with Silvia? :-)

arabesque said...

love listening to those choristes. ^0^
i'm sure they sounded terrific,
lights up! christmas is in the air indeed!

PeterParis said...

Obviously all around the world: :-)

GMG said...

Yes, but just for greetings; most didn't understand and the conference was in English...

PeterParis said...

OK. The good thing of speaking many lanhuages! :-)

Parisbreakfasts said...

Oh Spectacular!
the best of all treats

PeterParis said...

There is not only breakfast in life! :-)

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