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Sweden's bizarre tradition of watching Donald Duck cartoons on Christmas Eve.

Three years ago, I went to Sweden with my then-girlfriend (now-wife), to meet her family and celebrate my first Christmas. As an only partially lapsed Jew, I was not well-versed in Christmas traditions, and I was completely ignorant of Swedish customs and culture. So I was prepared for surprises. I was not prepared for this: Every year on Dec. 24 at 3 p.m., half of Sweden sits down in front of the television for a family viewing of the 1958 Walt Disney Presents Christmas special, "From All of Us to All of You." Or as it is known in Sverige, Kalle Anka och hans vänner önskar God Jul: "Donald Duck and his friends wish you a Merry Christmas."

Kalle Anka and the Aracuan BirdKalle Anka and the Aracuan BirdKalle Anka, for short, has been airing without commercial interruption at the same time on Sweden's main public-television channel, TV1, on Christmas Eve (when Swedes traditionally celebrate the holiday) since 1959.

[...]

The show's cultural significance cannot be understated. You do not tape or DVR Kalle Anka for later viewing. You do not eat or prepare dinner while watching Kalle Anka. Age does not matter--every member of the family is expected to sit quietly together and watch a program that generations of Swedes have been watching for 50 years. Most families plan their entire Christmas around Kalle Anka, from the Smörgåsbord at lunch to the post-Kalle visit from Jultomten. "At 3 o'clock in the afternoon, you can't to do anything else, because Sweden is closed," Lena Kättström Höök, a curator at the Nordic Museum who manages the "Traditions" exhibit, told me. "So even if you don't want to watch it yourself, you can't call anyone else or do anything else, because no one will do it with you."



Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 05:46:57 AM EST
There's a similar strange tradition in Germany before Silvester (NYE), where the entire country watches James the butler serve Miss Sophie and her non-existant guests, as James must consume copious amounts of sherry. "Same procedure as every year, Miss Sophie."

the same english show is watched on the 23rd in Norway. Now you can watch it yourself, and i dare you not to split your sides.



"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin

by Crazy Horse on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 06:09:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Freddie Frinton: the link between homo vaudevillius and homo milliganii

(I regularly got 2/10 for Latin, so don't hit me)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 06:13:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's broadcasted every New Years Eve in Sweden as well. :)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 06:17:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Although for Scandinavians, some germans produced a Lego version which you can find on your tube.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 06:40:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My first NY in Germany I was looked at with utter consternation when I said I'd never seen this before. Everyone seemed to think this is what the whole world watched on NYE.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 06:50:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
same here.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 07:04:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yea, yet it's almost unheard of here in the UK. We only know of it now cos the germans mention it so reverently. I'm sure I watched it once and was completely mystified all the way through.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 08:54:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This must be very old, I have been watching it since we had first a television and that must have been in the 60's and still very funny.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 09:00:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I never knew that. But the comic Kalle Anka is very popular in Finland, I know grown men in the advertising/movie business who still get it every week.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 06:10:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, I got a subscription for my birthday, thinking it would help my Finnish language learning. Now we've got tons of issues of Kalle Anka piled up in a closet.

But the weirdest thing is if you ever try to cancel your subscription to the Duck. It's practically impossible!

by sgr2 on Tue Jan 4th, 2011 at 04:49:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmm, that would explain why the Mad Men are still reading it.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Jan 4th, 2011 at 05:12:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We ended up watching the legendary South Park épisode  featuring Mr Hankey the Christmas Pooh. All expertly dubbed into French including the songs
Noel en enfer and Joyeux putain de Noel.
I'm not suggesting this is a French tradition. But perhaps it's becoming one.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sat Dec 25th, 2010 at 06:06:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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