Jolabokaflod and other festive traditions

As term comes to a close and the summative stress becomes almost insurmountable, this week I couldn’t help but turn my sights to the festive season and the traditions that come with it. In my procrastinatory ponderings, I started planning a tradition that my family began partaking in a few years ago: Jolabokaflod. Jolabokaflod is an Icelandic tradition which literally translates to ‘Christmas book flood’, and is celebrated on Christmas Eve by giving each other books and reading them together with a warm drink. After then asking friends about their own festive traditions, I thought I’d share a few of my favourites for this week’s editor’s note. 

Zuzanna, Poland: Christmas supper

On December 24th in Poland, Christmas supper traditionally starts when the first star appears in the sky. The meal consists of 12 dishes, symbolising the months, and trying every dish ensures good luck for the year. Before starting the meal, everyone is given a rectangular wafer – opłatek – with nativity scenes etched onto them, which are then broken whilst exchanging wishes.

Lienard, Solange and Ellie, Martinique: la ribote 

In Martinique, people take part in carol singing soirées, in which they sing, share food, and drink homemade rhum punch, oftentimes with their whole street. Traditional creole songs include ‘Joseph, mon cher fidèle’ and ‘Satan crève’.

Stella, Slovenia: St. Nicholas Day

December 6th in Slovenia – as in many other European countries – is St. Nicholas Day. Whilst celebrated differently depending on the country, in Slovenia the day usually starts with a chocolate St. Nicholas, a breaded krampus (devil), dried fruit, nuts, and clementines, and is often followed by parades through towns.

Asami, Japan: New Year’s Eve

To celebrate New Year’s Eve in Japan, many people eat toshikoshi soba (warm buckwheat noodle soup), and watch the Kohaku song contest together, the result of which is announced just before the New Year, followed by a countdown. There is also a tradition to go to shrines straight after the New Year to pray for a good year and health. The following days are spent with family at home and osechi is traditionally eaten.

From everyone at The Bubble, we hope that you have a lovely festive season however you celebrate, and enjoy a well-earned break. Here are my final editor’s picks of the year!

The aromantic experiences of Jo March in ‘Little Women’ by Magali O’Brien

A ‘fairer Chile’: the electoral contest of two extremities by Caitlyn Clement

Faust IV Live! by Evie Nicholson

Go rogue and make your friends edible Christmas gifts this year! by Kate Langton

My homes by Anonymous


Featured image: Zuzanna Bilkiewicz

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