It is Christmas and Nils Olsson Dala Horses (Dalahästar), the premiere Dala Horse Workshop, since 1928, in Nusnäs, Dalarna, Sweden, handcrafts the finest of all Dala horses. A Dala Horse is, simply said, a must for Christmas. The classic red is a tradition. Of course, we are proud to offer a selection of colors and sizes.
If you are looking for recipes, Trine Hahnemann's Scandinavian Christmas is a joy. She offers a potpourri of festive and traditional recipes.
Find a Scandinavian Christmas here on Amazon.
And, you may enjoy following our Nils Olsson Dala Horse Board on Pinterest.
We've expanded our offerings of Nils Olsson Dala Horses to include these charming Natural Wood dalahast.
To find these Dala Horses click on the images above or click here
In Sweden clearly the tradition is to stand your Dala Horse collection strategically here and there as a central element to your Christmas decor, but we wanted to hang some of ours on our Christmas tree. We admit that we do have a Dala Horse collection on a window sill under a Norfolk Pine year round. Still, we found ourselves determined to add them to our tree ornaments and thus, took dalahast keychains and turned them into Christmas ornaments. We hope you will enjoy them on your tree as much as we do.
For a thorough presentation of Dala Horse history - we know you will enjoy reading - click here
Natural Wood dalahast smartly shows off the grain of the wood that Dala Horses are individually carved from - they celebrate Sweden's national folk art symbol and the beauty of the wood!
This year we were pleased to discover the official Swedish Government internet page which explores everything Swedish, including Swedish traditions and a fun and informative page on Santa Lucia - the bearer of light - a celebration that occurs each year on the 13th of December. The Swedish website
includes an extensive history of how the Santa Lucia tradition came to be, and how Santa Lucia's Day is celebrated in modern Sweden: "Alongside Midsummer, the Lucia celebrations represent one of the foremost cultural traditions in Sweden, with their clear reference to life in the peasant communities of old: darkness and light, cold and warmth.
Lucia is an ancient mythical figure with an abiding role as a bearer of light in the dark Swedish winters. The many Lucia songs all have the same theme:
Santa Lucia's Day is celebrated throughout Europe, but, of course especially in the Scandinavia countries. Inge-Glas of Germany memorializes her in their lovely mouth-blown Christmas ornament
You may also enjoy our Pinterest board on Scandinavia.
My Growing Traditions is pleased to now carry the Scandinavian Folk Art symbol - the Dala Horse (Dalahäst). We have chosen the very best - the art of the Nils Olsson Hemslöjd (Handicraft) ab workshop founded on 28 June 1928 in Nusnäs, Sweden. And, we carry multiple sizes (1-1/2" to 6" tall). The most famous design, the essential Dala Horse
and we even have an irresistible Dala Pig
In Nordic mythology the horse belonged to the Gods. Horses arrived in Sweden 4000 years ago when they were tamed and domesticated by the Stridsyxe people. It is known that the precursor to the Dala Horse, carved wooden horses, have existed in Sweden since at least the 1600s. In the 1700s forestry workers of Dalarna sat by the fire after a hard day’s work of timbering and carved toys for their children - to carve a horse was only natural, the horse being essential to their trade and a symbol of strength, courage, faithfulness, wisdom, and dignity.
In the 1800s it became common to paint the carved horses, using the kurbits style of decorative painting of the Dalarna province used to paint furniture and other decorative items in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In the 1830s Swedish artist Stika Erik Hansson painted Dala horses with a unique two-color (red and green) simplified form of kurbits decoration and his Dala horse pattern became the tradition for Dala horse making in Sweden. Peddlers traveled throughout Sweden selling their household wares and Dala Horses (which they often used to barter for their food and shelter). Production of the horses became centered in Dalarna, especially in Nusnäs, and remains there today. The name “Dala Horse” (Dalahäst) is a diminutive derived from the word “Dalecarlian,” the language/dialect spoken in Dalarna.
The Olson family brothers Nils and Jannes, 13 and 15 years of age, of Nusnäs, began by carving horses in their home after school as a cottage industry. In 1928 they borrowed 400 dollars to start up a workshop. Dala Horses became world famous when they were presented as traditional Swedish Folk Art at the World’s Expo in Paris (1937) and at the World’s Fair in New York (1939). Today, the Dala Horse is a national symbol of Sweden.
Nils Olsson Hemslöjd (Handicraft) ab is renown for creating the most refined, artistic, and thus collectible Dala Horses, and we are proud to now offer them to you.
December 13th is Santa Lucia's Day. It is celebrated throughout Europe, but especially in the Scandinavia countries. Inge-Glas of Germany memorializes her in their lovely mouth-blown Christmas ornament
Today's blog post of Lavender and Lovage is one you will enjoy. Visit their page about Saint Lucy - for a recipe for Saffron buns and more. Lavender and Lovage provides a simple and wonderful description of the Scandinavian Santa Lucia traditions on December 13th.
"The oldest daughter of the family rises just before dawn and dresses in a white gown with a red sash, which symbolises Lucia's purity and her martyrdom. On her head she places a crown of lingonberry twigs and leaves in which candles are set, in memory of the candles Lucia wore when she visited the prisoners. She is now the 'Lucia bride' or the 'Queen of lights". She then prepares fresh coffee, ginger biscuits, and Lussekatter (meaning 'cat' buns or cakes'), which she takes to her parents in bed."
You may also enjoy our Pinterest board on Scandinavia.