Christmas Dinner Tradition
Although Christmas time starts in early December with first decorations around the city, with Julebords and Christmas markets the holidays begin on the 23rd of December. Then, on Little Christmas Eve (Lille julaften) people decorate the Christmas tree, and the kids are allowed to open one present. Gingerbread (pepperhusekake) house is being made as well as rice on milk (risengrynsgrøt). The bowl of rice with milk, sugar, butter, cinnamon, and a hidden almond is served the day after. Whoever finds the almond in his bowl gets the marzipan pig.
On Christmas Eve (Julaften) families watch traditional movies such as Three wishes for Cinderella or Journey to the Christmas star. Finally, at 5 pm church bells mark the beginning of Christmas and everybody gets around the festive table.
Culinary tradition, just like everywhere, diverse from county to county. In the west of the country, the tradition is to eat lamb ribs (pinnekjøtt), while at the south the custom is to eat fish. In Oslo, East Norway, where we reside the majority eats meat. A lot of meat. Together with pork meatballs (medisterkaker) and pork sausages (medisterpølse) Norwegians serve crispy pork belly. The most important part for a host on this occasion is not the house decorations, delicious desserts or expensive drinks but the fine crispy pork skin.
Rakfisk is a fermented fish wrapped in a potato pancake, together with some sour cream and onions.
Lutefisk is a dried cod soaked in lye served with potatoes, mushy peas and bacon
During the dinner, the guests drink Christmas oil (juleøl) that is of dark color and full, strong taste, Christmas strawberry and raspberry soda (julebrus) and akevitt (a flavored spirit made out of grain or potatoes).
Desserts vary from all kinds of cakes and ice-creams served with fruit salad and kransekake, a sweet made out of egg whites, sugar and almonds. Parts or better said the rings of sweet are glued with a mixture of sugar and water, and the cake can have 18 or more layers. Kransekake is rather hard on the inside but very soft and sticky when eaten.
Coffee and second round of cookies are served after the kids share the presents to the guests.
First and Second Day of Christmas are usually spent with the closest members of your family eating all the leftovers from the days before. A custom that all of us share 🙂
Nisse is a mythological creature from Norwegian folklore. They were small, white or grey bearded with red hat and they used to live in the farm and help the farmers if treated well. It was very important to leave a small bowl of porridge with peace of butter for the nisse on Christmas eve. Otherwise, he could get mad and play tricks, steal items, burn down the haystacks or kill livestock.