Thursday, December 23, 2010

Family Tradition Out The Window

Photo: Embassy Of Norway, DC

Today I'm a little bit frustrated...alright, I'm ALOT frustrated. Tomorrow is my precious Grace's 6th birthday, and it just happens to also be Christmas Eve when I'm used to celebrating Norwegian style...but this year I'll be rushing through the day only to go to work for an unknown amount of time. Originally those of us working were told that we'd be able to come in early and finish our shift by at least 8p...well, that's all changed. Why do businesses do that to their employees? It's just plain WRONG! I ask myself, "Is it really worth it to go in and miss my daughter's birthday night & family's traditional celebration for only $40?" Nope, it's really not worth it...but then I'm faced with the fact that if I call-in and don't show, the other people working with me won't get back to their families until after midnight...and I just can't do that to them. It's not their fault that we're all stuck working beyond the time that we were told we'd be working. I mean, they are just as frustrated and disappointed as I am. AGH! Sometimes I wish that I didn't care or think about how one thing I do could effect others...but I do. So now I'm in the madcap rush to get a gingerbread house's parts baked. Get the Lefse, Kranskake & Fyrstekake made. Make sure that my daughter is all set for her birthday and face the ugly fact that I will be missing the entire evening. :( Next year this will NOT be happening! Fun little tidbits:

Norwegian Christmas At Union Station

For the 14th year in a row, The Royal Norwegian Embassy celebrates the Christmas season at Union Station, with a 32-foot Christmas tree on display through January 3, 2011, and a train exhibit.
December 2nd : 6:00 pm: Tree lighting ceremony to light the 32 foot tall Christmas tree, decorated with 20 000 lights and streamers of Norwegian and American flags. This event annually draws hundreds of Washingtonians to the main hall of Union Station. The tree is a gift to the people of Washington, D.C., and is a symbol of friendship between the United States and Norway. It also expresses Norway’s gratitude for assistance received from the United States during and after World War II. The nationally recognized Children’s Chorus of Washington, representing over 100 schools in the metropolitan Washington area, will be performing holiday songs. The tree and decorations will be on display from December 2 through January 3, 2011. Statoil is the sponsor of this year's Norwegian Christmas at Union Station.

Traditional Christmas Eve in Norway & Iceland - Wikipedia

Further information: Jul (Norway)
In Iceland and Norway, Yule(jul/jól) starts on the night of December 24, at 6:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. respectively. Church bellsring at that time and people either sit down for holiday dinner at home or with their family. After that they open gifts and spend the evening together. In Iceland people most often eat hamborgarahryggur and svínabógur, while in Norway there are a wide variety of traditional meals depending on family traditions and geographic location. E.g. In the northern part of the country, Cod and Lutefisk are typical, while in the western part Pinnekjøtt, which is steamed ribs from lamb, that is more common. In the east the most common meal is Ribbe, which is oven cooked Pork ribs.

Norwegian Christmas Traditions -

Norwegian children always remember a little gnome Nisse at Christmastime. He guards all the farm animals, and he plays tricks on the children if they forget to place a bowl of special porridge for him.Norway has its gift-bearing little gnome or elf. Known as Julebukk or "Christmas buck," he appears as a goat-like creature. Julebukkharkens back to Viking times when pagans worshipped Thor and his goat. During pagan celebrations a person dressed in a goatskin, carrying a goat head, would burst in upon the party and during the course of evening would "die" and return to life.During the early Christian era, the goat began to take the form of the devil, and would appear during times of wild merry-making and jubilation. By the end of the Middle Ages, the game was forbidden by the Church and the state. In more recent times the goat has emerged in the tamer form of Julebukk.A favorite holiday cookie is called a sand kager is made by mixing 2 cups of butter and sugar, 4 cups of flour, and 1 cup of chopped almonds. This pressed into a tin, baked until golden brown, and cut into squares.In the dark afternoons, in the Viking tradition, children go from house to house asking for goodies.Norwegians eat lye-treated codfish, and wash it down with boiled potatoes, rice porridge, gingerbread, and punch.Norwegians are very close to the North Pole, and they strongly hope for the magic of snow for the holydays! Christmas in Norway begins with the Saint Lucia ceremony on the 13 December. At the crack of dawn, the youngest daughter from each family puts on a white robe with a sash, a crown with evergreens and tall-lighted candles, accompanied by the other children, the boys dressed as star boys in long white shirts and pointed hats. They wake their parents, and serve them coffee and Lucia buns, lussekatter. The custom goes back to a Christian virgin, Lucia, martyred for her beliefs at Syracuse in the fourth century. The Saint Lucia ceremony is fairly recent, but it represents the traditional thanksgiving for the return of the sun.The Christmas tree, juletre, spruce or pine tree usually, are often decorated with candles, apples, red harts, cornets, straw ornaments, balls of glass and tinsels, all depending on what you like. The homes have a scent of resin, hyacinths, red tulips, spices and tangerines. Some children, especially in the country still believe in and remember a little gnome or elf, fjøsnissen at Christmas time. He is told to guard all the farm animals, and he plays tricks if the children forget to place a bowl of special rice porridge, risengrynsgrøt, in the barn or outside for him. This is old superstition. Norwegians also love to eat this porridge on the 23 December, lillejulaften, and then it holds a magic almond inside. The one who finds it gets a prize. Some eat the rice porridge for lunch on the 24th. Perhaps in the evening they have some gløgg, it is a spicy drink (you can add some red wine if you like), with raisins and chopped almonds. Julaften, on the 24 December, a lot of people go to church service before they gather at home around the table for a nice Christmas Eve dinner. The dinner can consist of a rib with a good crackling, ribbe, (served with "cabbage à la norvégienne", surkaal, potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, sprouts, prunes and brown sauce), salted and dried ribs of mutton, pinnekjoett, (served with potatoes, carrots and mashed swedes), or lye-treated codfish, lutefisk (served with potatoes, bacon and pea stew). For dessert: rice blended with whipped cream served with a red sauce, riskrem, caramel pudding, cherry mousse, or whipped cream blended with multer (orange, wonderful berries found on the mountain - looks like rasberries). In the evening Santa Claus, julenissen, arrives with gifts. Often it is snowing. In the days between Christmas and New Years Eve, romjulen, the children sometimes go from house to house in the afternoon asking for sweets, this tradition is called "Christmas buck", julebukk. The tradition harkens back to the Viking times when pagans worshipped Thor and his goat, but just a few children keep up the tradition today. On Christmas Day a lot of people have a big brunch at noon or dinner in the afternoon for friends and family. It is done the Italian way and can last for several wonderful hours! Traditional cakes and cookies made at Christmas can be julekake (with raisins), kryddekake, delfiakake, rosettbakels, fattigmann, smultringer, goro, silkekaker, pepperkaker, kokosmakroner. Different nuts, fruits, figs, dates and sweets also belong to the celebration. God Jul! (Merry Christmas!)

No comments:

Post a Comment