Special Meals

Christmas is a welcome holiday during the long Scandinavian winter. Traditional foods eaten on Christmas Eve are rice porridge, fresh cod, and lutefisk. Rice porridge is served with cinnamon and sugar and has one hidden blanched almond. The person who finds the almond is believed to be blessed with good luck for the following year. Lutefisk is boiled cod (treated in a lye solution); it is served with a white sauce, melted butter, green peas, boiled potatoes, and mustard. Christmas Day dinner features ham or pork served with red cabbage or sauerkraut. The Danes usually serve goose on Christmas Day.

In Norway, Christmas festivities begin weeks before the holiday. Most families brew a Christmas beer called juleol. They also cook traditional pork dishes, bake biscuits, cookies, cakes, and julekake, a sweet bread filled with raisins, candied peel, and cardamom. Swedes have a month-long Christmas celebration that begins on December 13, the feast of St. Lucia. Christmas is celebrated on December 24 with rice pudding and ginger cookies. In Denmark, the Christmas feast is held at midnight on Christmas Eve.

Midsummer's Day (June 24) is another popular holiday in Scandinavia. It features maypole dancing, feasting, and bonfires. Fish, such as herring and cured salmon (gravlax), along with boiled new potatoes are common. In Norway, a cream pudding (rommegrot) is served with cinnamon and sugar. In Sweden, wild strawberries are eaten.

Delores C. S. James Ranjita Misra


Haas, Elson M. (1992). Staying Healthy with Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Press.

Kittler, Pamela G., and Sucher, Kathryn P. (2001). Food and Culture, 3rd edition. Stamford, CT: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.

Ojakangas, Beatrice (2001). Scandinavian Feasts: Celebrating Traditions throughout the Year. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Internet Resources

"Explore Denmark." Available from <http://www.geocities.com/denmark1.geo/explor10. htm>

World Health Organization (2000). "Disease Outbreaks." Available from <http://www. who.int/disease-outbreak-news>

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