Dec 29 3 Comments

Norse Yule traditions are still alive

You see, we are still celebrating Christmas here on top of the world. Today is the 5th day of Christmas.

“Fæmtdan,” we call it. We still shake people’s hands when we meet them and say: “God Jul.” Some people even say: “Løkk me jula,” which literally means: Good luck with the Christmas. These are some of the things we do on the first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth day of Christmas:

We eat. This is the most important activity we do.

We have spent considerable time preparing cookies, and other yum-yums before Christmas, so now we must eat it all. We have also spent considerable amounts of money buying food we normally don’t buy. Now we must eat that too.

Some of the things we eat are: Figs, dates, tangerines, marzipan and loads of cookies. We also eat something called Pinnekjøtt which is dried, salted and smoked lamb that has been cooked for hours and eaten with mashed turnips and potatoes. It is incredibly yummy and very unhealthy. That is why we only eat it at Christmas. We drink a liqueur called Akevit with it. It is the Norwegian Scotch and is supposed to help cure a lot of ailments—bad mood for example.

Some people think that they have not had Christmas before they have eaten this.

Another thing we eat is Lutefisk. This is fish that has been cured in lye. It has a jello-like consistency and tastes almost nothing at all. We don’t know who thought about putting fish in lye and then eat it. But it tastes good—at Christmas. With the lutefish we must have these things: Potatoes, mashed green peas, crispy bacon and bacon grease. And Akevit, of course.

As a child I thought eating Lutefisk was a punishment. But not any more. I have become an adult.

We also eat cod or halibut, ribs and spiced meatballs, sour cream porridge and rice porridge.

Then we eat nuts that we have to crack ourselves, with a nut-cracker. We eat much meat and fish on our bread for breakfast. We drink homemade beer. We eat peanuts. We eat chips. We eat just plain chocolate, or chocolate that is not plain. We drink coffee until midnight.

So now I have written about the most important thing we do at Christmas.

The other activities are: Play board games. We play these with our family and many visitors that come over and eat with us.

We visit people or have visitors. This happens at least every day, at least if you are a part of my family. When we visit or get visitors we sit around and eat and talk and play board games. Some of the women knit. Many men are slouching.

We also go skiing, walking or “Sparking” (kick-sledding). We of course have to do this so that we can burn some calories. But many of us also do it because we like it.

Here you see us today. Minus ten outside. We cross-county skied to a place that had dried trees for wood, made a fire and ate hotdogs and bread while we shivered with cold. This is high class Christmas celebration.

Lastly, we read the books we got at Christmas Eve during the lazy days of Christmas. And we watch movies on TV.

Sadly, some people have to work during Christmas too. I will write about them later.

There are other things I could mention as well, such as the “walk-around-the-Christmas-tree”-parties and the children that dress up and walk around the neighborhood asking for candies, like Christmas trick-or-treating. But, frankly, it is a little boring. Better not write about it quite yet.

So now you know a few things about Norwegian Christmas celebrations and hopefully you still respect us.