Julotta or to Awake Early in the Morning

In Swedish language there is the specific work for the Church worship held early in the Christmas day’s morning. The word is julotta.

The word julotta consists etymologically of two words:

  • jul Christmas
  • otta archaic word for the earliest time of the day, the hours before dawn that are related to activities such as work or other. More generally it refers to early morning.

So the word otta has nothing to do with number 8 ‘åtta’, but because the meaning of the word otta is not known commonly, people have thought that julotta is the Christmas Day’s worship at 8 o’clock. And yes, the word is commonly misspelled julåtta.

On the contrary the etymology of otta goes back to the ancient Sanskrit word aktú, which means darkness or ray.

And finally some Swedish speaking finns have adopted the word as a verb meaning ‘to wake up early in the Christmas day’s morning  (to clean up the living room)’.


  • Conjugate the Swedish verb julotta.
  • Wikipedia article about julotta.
  • Swedish (Finland) definition of julotta, including the verb julotta as used in Åboland, Finland.