St. Knut's Day
|St. Knut's Day|
|Also called||Tjugondag jul, Tjugondag Knut, Knutomasso|
|Observed by||Sweden, Finland|
|Next time||13 January 2014|
Tjugondag jul ("Twentieth Day Yule"), or Tjugondag Knut ("Twentieth Day Knut"), or Knutomasso, in English St. Knut's Day, (Finnish: nuutinpäivä) is a traditional festival celebrated in Sweden and Finland on January 13. It is not celebrated in Denmark despite being named for the Danish prince Canute Lavard, and later also associated with his uncle, Canute the Saint, the patron saint of Denmark.
Christmas trees are taken down on Tjugondag jul, and the candies and cookies that decorated the tree are eaten.
Canute Lavard (Knut Levard in Swedish) was a Danish duke who was assassinated by his cousin and rival Magnus Nilsson on January 7, 1131 so he could take the Danish throne. In the aftermath of his death there was a civil war, which led to Knut being later declared a saint, and the 7th became Knut's Day, a name day.
As his name day roughly coincided with Epiphany (the "thirteenth day of Christmas"), Knut's Day and Epiphany were conflated to some degree. In 1680, Knut's Day was moved to the 13th January. It then became known as tjugondag Knut or tjugondedag jul (the "twentieth day of Knut/Christmas").
On Tjugondag jul, there has been a tradition a bit analogous to modern Santa Claus, where men dressed as a goat (Finnish: Nuuttipukki) would visit houses. Unlike Santa Claus, Nuuttipukki was a scary character (cf. Krampus). The men dressed as Nuuttipukki wandered from house to house, came in, and typically demanded household residents for food and especially alcoholic beverages. In Finland the Nuuttipukki tradition is still living at areas of Satakunta, Finland Proper and Ostrobothnia. However, nowadays the character is usually played by children and now involves a happy encounter.
- The murder at Haraldsted
- Bricka, Carl Frederik, Dansk Biografisk Lexikon, vol. XI [Maar - Müllner], 1897, pp.45. Available online
- af Klintberg, Bengt. The Names of the Calendar.