Friday, March 22, 2013


It says ‘Express’ on the little red sticker visible in the top right hand corner of this envelope. That may be slightly misleading as a description. On 16th of December my cousin Pelle wrote: “Here comes your Donald Duck, maybe a little late”... The Swedish Postal advice had given the official date for Christmas posting for Mali as 15th of December.   It arrived today. The Postman delivered it in person, very excited. I think it is the only thing that has arrived to the Djenne post office in a few weeks...
And for non-Swedes, an explanation may be necessary: The entire Swedish Nation watches one hour of Donald Duck and other Walt Disney cartoons about 4pm on Christmas Eve, before opening the Christmas presents. This is something that makes me feel nostalgic every year, and I try and watch some Walt Disney – whatever I can get hold of. It is not the same thing however and my cousin Pelle kindly recorded  the real thing for me Christmas 2011.
Funnily enough, the Swedish film crew and I had a conversation about this very thing (obviously an important part of the National Psyche) and they told me that nowadays it is the old people that watch the Walt Disney films while the children run around making a nuisance of themselves, no longer interested in such things... It confirms my belief that my generation- say roughly people aged 52-72- is right in all things. We were young at the right time and we are getting old at the right time too, for even those that are young now envy us.



Blogger Susan Scheid said...

Disney cartoons, of all things! However did such a tradition take root in Sweden?

7:44 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

Well, Susan, that is a very good question!
It has been part of Swedish Christmas celebrations ever since TV started in the fifties I believe. The beginning of the programme remains unchanged since those days: Bengt Feldreich, a famous science presenter from those early TV days indtroduces and welcomes in the Walt Disney shape of Benjamin Cricket I believe it must be in English. Then there is the party scene in Snow White, the dress making scene in Cinderella, Donald Duck on camping holiday, the Christmas present factory of Santa Claus, Bambi on the Ice etc. About 30 years ago there was a national uproar when the producers introduced a new section about a bull that did not want to fight. It provoked the same sort of outrage as normally encountered by those who want to update well-known hymns or the Book of Common Prayer etc. One doesn't mess with Christmas Donald Duck in Sweden.
My cousin Pelle, by the way, just wrote me saying he is chocked that I wrote erroneously that the programme starts at 4pm on Christmas Eve when every good Swede knows that it is 3pm!

11:00 AM  

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