Christmas Day Julotta – Tradition #10

December 25, 2017

We participated in a really neat new tradition this year.  Someone at my dad’s work mentioned she was going to be volunteering at a Swedish breakfast on Christmas Day so my dad got more information about it and shared it with us.  It is called a Julotta service (pronounced “yulata”) and it is a traditional Swedish service done before dawn to welcome in the light of Christ’s birth.  My dad vaguely remembered going to these as a kid.  This one was to be held at Peace Lutheran Church in Cleveland Heights and much of the service would be in Swedish.  It was to be held at 6:30am!  On Christmas Day!  Zach and I were in!  Mike, not so much, so he decided to stay home and get our breakfast in the oven for when we got home.

Zach and I drove over to grandma and grandma’s and then grandpa drove us to the church.  We arrived early at about 6am so we could look around the church a bit.  It was beautiful all dark when we first got there.  The stained glass windows were neat and the real candles in the windows were very cool.  I took a picture of the front of the bulletin because it looked traditionally Swedish.  The choir sang “Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming” in Swedish which was very cool.  Probably the highlight of the service was the gospel read in Swedish in the middle of the aisle by candlelight from this giant Swedish bible.  I had no idea there was a Swedish contingent in Cleveland!

The pastor (a woman!) gave an awesome message and then the service concluded at about 7:15am.  Zach said to me, “is it over already?” which brought a smile to my face.  After the service there was a traditional Swedish breakfast for all attendees.  We weren’t planning to stay long as our breakfast was being prepared at our house, but we did stop down to meet folks and visit a bit.

Gospel reading
Traditional Swedish dress

I mean to tell you it was a traditional Swedish breakfast complete with hard tack, cheese, 3 different kinds of rice pudding and herring!!  No sausage and egg casserole here!  I did not try the herring…maybe next year!  We met one of the volunteers in a traditional Swedish dress.

Rice pudding with custard on top
Traditional rice pudding
Rice pudding topped with ligonberries
Pickled herring













I could tell my dad had choked up a few times during the service.  That plus having my almost 16 year old there voluntarily to share this experience with his grandparents made getting up at 4:45am well worth it!  God Yul!

1 thought on “Christmas Day Julotta – Tradition #10

  1. How neat–and cool that Zach went with you…..I tried herring once and no thanks! However, Rich loves it served with sour cream and onion.

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