Alternate History

Júl (The Kalmar Union)

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Júl, the Vinlandic Christmas celebration is a week-long affair incorporating many pagan aspects.

The main day of festivities is the 24th December. In the morning families will visit church then return home and read from the family Bible. In the evening however the pagan side of the festivities take over. Children will be visited by 'trolls' who leave small presents secreted about the house and play pranks upon the children. The main meal is usually ptarmigan, goose or another large bird however Vinlanders rarely pass up the opportunity to have reindeer and this is becoming increasingly common.

In the evening Queen Kristjana IX broadcasts a message to the nation over the wireless. Most Kalmar rulers do the same and although it has only happened regularly for a decade or so it has already become a firm tradition and many families gather together, especially in poorer neighbourhoods to hear the message. After that the drinks come out! Children will often put on small revues for the adults with scenes from sagas, fairy tales or act out the events of the year and are usually filled with singing. Toasts to the royal family, the parties' hosts and any recently deceased members of the locale end the night.

The 25th December is usually a much quieter affair reserved for visiting friends and family. It is traditional to leave fruit outdoors for Freyja in the evening to ensure a good harvest in the following year. It has been a national holiday since 2003.

On the 27th Vinland celebrates the Vetúrblot. Most other Norse states celebrate this in January (if at all) but increased religious intolerance during the reign of Freydis III (1621-1647) turned official opinion against residual Odinist folklore and as a result the blot was 'hidden' on a different day. This festival was once commemorated by the ritual slaughter of a horse however nowadays a straw horse is burnt in town and village squares. In the more agricultural areas this is followed up with 'beating the bounds' as the settlement walks the edge of the parish shooting trees to ward off spirits.

On New Years Eve (Gamlásdag) firework displays light up the skies as Vinlanders say goodbye to the old year.

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