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About Himmeli

Long before Christmas tree as a symbol of Nordic Christmas traditions these delicate, geometric mobiles called Himmeli were a part of Christmas decorations in Finland. They were originally made of straws and used from Christmas to Midsummer. The fragile decoration 'danced' with the drafts over the kichen table. There are many stories about the origin, but the designer of this modern version in plywood is fond of the one which tells how the ordinary people were able to experience the same 'holy' feeling they had had seeing chandeliers in churches.

As the tradition is really old, you have to keep in mind that at the time, chandeliers were something exclusively for the curch or for the rich: ordinary people may have never had the opportunity to see one before the first chandelier seen in a church. You can immagine how amazed they must have been!

Some other stories talk about himmeli as a token to promote good harvest. Made of rye straws (as it is one of the most resistent of natural straws), the bigger and the more complex the ornament was, the better your crop would be. Yet another way to interprate these beautiful decorations is that originally the would have been created to keep away bad spirits.

My personal experience with Himmeli are some of my earliest memories of mum preparing them for Christmas, from natural straw, of course. She was really dedicated and created many versions of them through the years. It takes a long time to built them, as the straws have to be cut even, they should be straight enough and have no knots to make pieces with even lenght. So I remember her going through a pile of straws, carefully choosing the right ones to be used. A work that took time, precision and dedication! I truly admired her then, and still do. I would never be able to do all she did having 3 kids and a house to run too.

Today Himmeli decorations are very trendy in finnish homes, and used throughout the year. There are many variations and new, modern models of the traditional version, others made of metal others of plastic, often because natural straws are so delicate to use, so these new materials are easier to deal with but also the mobile will have a longer life this way. I still prefer the natural look and feel to Himmeli, yet I completely understand maybe natural straws are too delicate to use, so I chose this beautiful plywood version of the original geometric mobile: it is durable, it can be assembled and re-assembled as you wish yet it has the same feeling and almost the same look too as the traditional Himmeli had. An original and a beautiful decoration to any home.

 

 

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