Julotta (A Christmas morning candlelight service) will be at 6:30 am on Christmas morning followed by a continental breakfast. “Julotta” is a traditional Swedish church service held early in the morning on Christmas Day. “Jul” is the Swedish word for Christmas, and “otta” is the time just before dawn.
We meet on Christmas morning to celebrate the incarnation beginning and the end of Advent Season. We read the scripture that tells of Jesus coming and sing both traditional and current Christmas music together.
The Church was started in 1898 by Swedish speaking residents of this area in downtown San Jose and the church has held Julotta services since. The tradition goes back to the Middle Ages, and everyone that could, attended the Julotta. In the Swedish Church Law dated 1686, it is stated that the Julotta should start at 6 AM. The time of 6:30 AM was chosen as it was just before dawn. Further back, the tradition was to start at 4 AM so that the service ended at dawn.
Mid-December is the darkest part of the year in Sweden, and in the “old days” people came to church early in the morning carrying torches. The burning torches were thrown in a big pile in front of the church entrance, were people could warm up before entering the church. After the service, people raced back to their houses with their horse-drawn sledges. The winner was thought to become the first to harvest his crop next year. It is a great start of Christmas Day for families.