Jul, is all about family, food and traditions (and then some more food), starting well before Christmas, usually about 4 -5 weeks before with workplace and friends Christmas lunches, ‘Julefrokost’ which is basically full of food, lots of hygge, drink (especially snaps!), a beautifully set table and dressed for the occasion. A Julefrokost is no quick thing, it goes on for hours and its usually best to come on foot!
A Julefrokost consist of many smaller dishes, for you to create your own smoerrebrod. It will always include pickled herring as well as other fish, meatballs, pork fillet, picked cabbage, eggs, prawns, other cold meats, various salad toppings and so much more…completely delicious. Most families also have a family Julefrokost on Christmas and/ or boxing day.
Then there the actual Christmas dinner, quite traditional and as good as the Julefrokost especially the dessert Risalamande, which also involves a bit of a Christmas game where the host has hidden a whole blanched almond. If you find the almond, you get a prize. And you have to keep eating the pudding until someone finds the almond, so what often happens, is that the person who finds the almond will hide it under his/her tongue until everyone has eaten so much that they’re ready to burst.
Christmas in Denmark is celebrated on the 24th of December, with lots of traditions during December, like the December countdown candle and the advent candle wreath for every Sunday in advent. Santa Lucia is celebrated everywhere on the 13th Dec, from schools to nursing homes and shopping centres, there’s even a huge floating procession in the centre of Copenhagen.
December is usually full of crafts, biscuit baking, Danish honey gingerbread hearts, and aebleskiver and gloegg.
Denmark also have a few quirky traditions like the Dance around the Christmas tree, why you ask…its just how its always been. Christmas eve we eat our big feast which consist of roast pork, duck or goose or all 3, caramelised potatoes, picked herring and the lovely rice podding described above.
Then we go to light the real actual candles on the Christmas tree, holds hand and circle the Christmas tree while we each choose a song to sing, some are hymns, some are just Christmas songs, most are very traditional. A few more quirky traditions are:
Putting rice pudding out (or in the loft if you have one) for the house gnome. If you don’t he might cause havoc for the next year.
We also hang paper gnome up everywhere round the house, these are known as ‘kravelnisser
We have included a few recipes here if you are tempted: