HVA BETYR JULA FOR DERE?

What does Christmas mean for you? This was the title of a chapter in my Norwegian language book and there were some very interesting thoughts about that. The usual answers were: family, Christmas tree, presents, snow….I say food. And stress 🙂

I’m not a huge fan of holidays ‘cause I hate crowds, overshopping and overeating but I like discovering new customs and traditions and I must say that I was rather excited when we got the invitation to celebrate Christmas with our extended family.

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 (pepperkakehus) 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 is, just like everywhere, diverse from county to county. In the west of the country the tradition is to eat lamb ribs (pinnekjøtt), while in 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 the evening when JC our Savior was born are not the house decorations, delicious desserts or expensive drinks but the fine crispy pork skin. If one does not master that right, well, the Julenisse ain’t bringing the presents.

Alongside meat, the tradition is to serve cooked almond potatoes, red cabbage, sour cabbage, prunes, apple and cranberry jam. Unusual sweet and sour combinations that can be lethal for those not used to them. French salad was a small Croatian contribution to this magnificent evening.

During the dinner the guests drink Christmas beer (juleøl) that is of dark color and full, strong taste, Christmas strawberry and raspberry soda (julebrus) and akevitt (flavored spirit made out of grain or potatoes).

Dessert varies from all kinds of cakes and ice-creams served with fruit salad to kransekake, a sweet made out of egg whites, sugar and almonds. Parts or better said the rings of the sweet are glued with a mixture of sugar and water, and the kake 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.

These bent cones are called krumkaker and are made made of flour, butter, eggs and sugar

The 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 piece 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.

 


ŠTO ZA VAS ZNAČI BOŽIĆ?

Meni je to uglavnom stres i koja kila više na vagi. Nikad nisam bila ljubitelj praznika i blagdana kad se kuća mahnito sprema za goste, kojih je s godinama sve manje, pa onda silno nakuhavanje i pečenje milijun vrsta kolača koja zamrznemo za neku drugu priliku jer ti  na kraju blagdana već sve izlazi na uši.

S druge strane, blagdani su vrijeme druženja s obitelji, prijateljima, poklanjanje i dobivanje poklona, nesnosne gužve u trgovinama, sve češće proljetno vrijeme oko Božića i zima za Uskrs….shvatili ste; ja sam Grinč 🙂

No, za razliku od crtanog Grinča koji je djeci ukrao Božić ja vam dajem norveški Božić. Kako se slavi ovdje, kako izgleda blagdanska trpeza, što se jede i koliko se pije otkrijte čitajući dalje.

Većina Norvežana registrirani su kao članovi luteranske Norveške crkve (Den norske kirke) i običaji su im nešto drugačiji od onih na koje sam ja navikla, ali sve je to manje-više isto. Jedna knjiga koja vlada svima.

Iako božićno vrijeme započinje već početkom prosinca, kad se grad okiti i postave se božićni šatori s raznoraznim proizvodima, tzv. Julemarked i kad firme imaju tradicionalni Julebord blagdani započinju tek 23. prosinca. Tada, na mali Božić (Lille julaften) ukrašava se božićno drvo, a djeca smiju otvoriti jedan dar od mnogo njih kojima će obitelj zasuti drvo. Pravi se kuća od medenjaka i kuha riža na mlijeku (risengrynsgrøt) koja se servira sa šećerom, cimetom, maslacem i jednim jedinim oljuštenim bademom. Tko na Badnjak ujutro pri doručku, pronađe badem u svom tanjuru bude nagrađen svinjom od marcipana.

Na Badnjak se tradicionalno na TV-u vrte božićni filmovi poput češkog ”Tri želje za Pepeljugu” ili Put do božićne zvijezde”, da bi se potom oko 5 navečer kad crkvena zvona označe početak glavnog blagdana proširena obitelj (bake, djedovi, roditelji, stričevi, tetke) okupila na večeri, nakon koje se dijele darovi.

Kulinarski običaji, kao i kod nas, razlikuju se od pokrajine do pokrajine. Na zapadu i sjeveru zemlje jedu se janjeća rebrica (pinnekjøtt), dok je na jugu uobičajeno jesti ribu. Istočna Norveška, gdje smo mi, jede mesinu. I to kakvu mesinu. Uz mesne okruglice i božićne kobasice car večeri je, logično, svinjsko carsko meso s ekstra hrskavom koricom. Ako se korica ne ispeče kako treba, Julenissen ne dolazi s darovima. Vrlo jednostavno.

Uz meso se poslužuju kuhani krumpiri, crveni slatki kupus, kiseli bijeli kupus, suhe šljive, džem od jabuka i džem od brusnica. Slatko slana kombinacija, za nekog tko se nije naviknuo može biti pogubna, ali ništa što francuska salata ne može izliječiti. Inače, francuska salata bila je mali hrvatski doprinos norveškoj božićnoj večeri.

Uz večeru se piju božićno pivo koje je nešto tamnije boje i jačeg okusa nego obična piva, božićni sok od jagode i maline za djecu i akevitt (rakija od žitarica ili krumpira s aromom začina i bilja) za najhrabrije.

Za desert se najčešće poslužuju torta pavlova, sladoled i voćna salata uz kransekake; kolač od bjelanjaka, badema i šećera. Dijelovi kolača lijepe se kombinacijom šećera i vode i stavljaju jedan na drugi, a sve skupa može imati 18 ili više slojeva. Krugovi su tvrdi izvana, ali mekani i ljepljivi kad se zagrizu. Nešto ko puslice od badema.

Druga runda (suhih) kolača koji se jedu uz kavu dolazi nakon višesatnog otvaranja poklona koje uglavnom ukućanima raspodjeljuju najmlađi.

Inače, ovi štožasti kolači u obliku korneta zovu se krumkake. Rade se od šećera, brašna, jaja, maslaca, a poslužuju se prazni ili punjeni kremom.

Sam blagdan Božića provodi se u užem krugu obitelji, dok se na Štefanje zovu prijatelji da vam pojedu ostatke hrane koje ste nakuhali za tri mjeseca. Da, mi još uvijek imamo pečenicu u ledu 🙂

 

 

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