Lillejulaften – The Little Eve of Christmas
Every household and every country celebrates this time of year a little different. Here is one pagan tradition from Norway that been added into the festivities and kick starts the celebrations.
Firstly, spend an afternoon making gingerbread (pepperkaker – in Norwegian!) with your children to use for what you’re about to make. These are also perfect gifts for teachers, family and friends.
On the 23rd December, Norwegians share a family meal of risgrøt – or rice porridge/pudding with cherry compote. Add a blanched almond in before you serve and enjoy with the homemade gingerbread.
Whoever finds the blanched almond in their food will win the marzipan pig. (Yes Norwegians really do love marzipan enough to eat the whole lot!)
Leave some of the food aside and let the children take it outside to the shed for the fjøsnissen to have.
Fjøsnissen translates as a “shed goblin”. He looks after your animals during the year. But, if you don’t say thank you to him by sharing your rice pudding meal with him, he will get angry and stop looking after your animals.
It’s best to be nice to him and he will be nice back!