María from Spain experienced her first Julebord and she told us what she thought about this Norwegian tradition.
“Today I experienced one of the greatest Norwegian traditions: the Julebord. I mean, the Christmas dinner that companies arrange for the employees before holidays. I thought it was a very interesting experience!
– Skål! Everyone says cheers for every reason and all the time. I’ve lost count of the times I raised the cup the last night. And the speeches go on, non stop!
– They sing many Christmas songs. I mean, EVERYONE sings without exception. In Spain it would be impossible without first having a few drinks.
– The drink par excellence is the juleøl, the Christmas beer. It is a sweeter than usual beer that norwegians usually drink at Christmas and that is supposed to be good with the big meals. The other traditional drink at this time of the year is the gløgg, mulled wine with spices that people have with almonds and raisins.
– When it comes to the food, it depends on where you live in Norway: north, east or west. In the east of Norway, people eat ribbe, which means something like roast pork belly with potatoes, sausage and meatballs. In the west, people have pinnekjøtt in Christmas; it’s salted lamb ribs. In the far north, there is usually fish on the Christmas table. Which one do you prefer?
– The dessert is usually risgrøt or rice pudding (with syrup, of course). An almond is hidden inside, and the person who finds it in the dish gets… a marzipan pig!
– And perhaps the most important thing … the akevitt, a very strong liquor made from potatoes. The funny thing is that the best brands of akevitt put the liquor in barrels, get into boats and take it to cross the equator twice, before selling it.
What do you think about these Norwegian traditions? How is it in your country? God Jul!”
written by María de la Cruz Gutierrez