Today is a very special day for Norwegians. Today is the beginning of the celebrations of celebrating! Yes you read that right. A day marked for the beginning of celebrating.
This day has been celebrated from at least the twelfth century and possibly even before that in Norway. In days of old it was thought of as a day of washing and a night of decorating. And in some respects that is still what Norwegians do today. Today is the day that many will choose their Christmas tree (I know not of one Norwegian who has an artificial tree) and will decorate it as a family. Again tastes and fashion change but many will also include paper bunting with the Norwegian flag as an essential part of the tree decorations.
I don't know about you but I try hard to give the house a bit of a once over spring type clean before filling the house with decorations as so too historically have the Norwegians on this day. Lille Juleaften (Little Christmas Eve) even the name is so inviting and enticing I think, is a day for preparing the final touches and beginning to celebrate.
So to start the day there is cleaning and making room for the tree; in reality too, it is a day to finish off present buying, wrapping and last minute food preparations. After all tomorrow is the BIG day in Norway. So a day of washing and preparing and then a night of decorating. Decorating is two fold, both bringing the tree into the house and decorating that as a signal that Christmas celebrating can begin but also decorating of oneself. Traditionally Norwegians would have new clothes for this night. I did not actually know this and must check with mamma tonight if she did, as we too have that tradition in our house. Is it that this is a tradition so long rooted in our DNA that we did not even know about it or was mamma aware of this Scandinavian tradition? Funny, how the origins of traditions can be blurred and forgotten. I fondly recall always being sent or given a new outfit for Christmas myself from my grandparents and loving it. Mamma too, now a Bestemor, takes both my children out individually and they buy a Christmas outfit with her. This is a tradition that has nothing to do with me and that both my children really enjoy. A way of spending quality time with their grandmother whilst having a new outfit to look 'smart' in for Christmas. As I have said before, I just love traditions. Should I ever be blessed with grandchildren I will so look forward to this.
Yesterday was out Ladies Christmas Lunch, hosted by my cousin for her first time, she is not of Norwegian descent but I was warmed to the core on entering her beautiful new home to see that she has begun some of our traditions with her family. This year they have made pepper kake, http://eclectichomelife.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/2nd-december-this-is-family-recipe-we.html?m=1
troll deig tree decorations http://eclectichomelife.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/norwegian-hearts.html?m=1 and our loveable pinecone Nisse, http://eclectichomelife.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/christmas-crafting-part-1.html?m=1 this is what it is all about...sharing.
I have been touched by so many of you telling me that you enjoy reading this blog and several of you have told me that you have made some of the cookies or decorations that I have so far featured, thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting me know that you have done this. Below are some of your photos.
♥Merry Christmas everyone and God Jul!♥
A family in the UK making pepper kake, they adapted this for diabetics. If you would like the recipie please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Finished results, look just like the real thing to me! Thank you for adapting this recipie and sharing it with us!
A family in Australia, used their imagination and made a Christmas tree from the pepperkake! ♥ it!
Trolldeig decorations being made on the South coast of the UK.
I understand several of you are struggling to posts comments, if you would be so kind as to let me know if this has happened to you, I will try and sort this out with Blogger, please do not give up! comments are lovely to receive!!!