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Julafton!!! Posted by on Dec 24, 2008 in Culture, Vocabulary

It’s julafton (Christmas eve) and in Sweden it means many things, but the most important of them all will start at 3PM on SVT1. Kalle Anka!!! The sacred Swedish Christmas tradition!

How did Donald Duck become a staple of Swedish Christmas cheer, I am not really sure. Nobody is. But the fact is, it’s not really a proper Swedish Christmas without Kalle Anka.

It’s not really Christmas without a fully loaded julbord, either. Because we are picky eaters, we have a modified julbord – we’re not fans of lutefisk in this house.

But a traditional julbord should include:

  • –    julskinka (Christmas ham)
  • –    julkorv (Christmas sausage)
  • –    sylta (a very odd thing, which I actually quite like, known in English either as “head cheese” or “brawn” but it’s not cheese, and the head in question belonged either to a calf or pig, OK?)
  • –    köttbullar (meatballs)
  • –    prinskorv (more sausage, this one is normally fried)
  • –    inlagd sill (pickled herring)
  • –    strömming (more herring)
  • –    lax (salmon)
  • –    lutefisk (eh, that thing, which is fish cured in lye)
  • –    rödbetssallad (red beet salad) and other mostly pickled veggies
  • –    potatis, boiled, dilled, or a as a salad.
  • –    and of course risgrynsgröt (rice pudding). My friend’s grandma makes the best risgrynsgröt ever, and since I normally don’t eat dairy products, coming from me, this is a huge compliment, indeed.

Even though Sweden is a relatively small country (when compares to the US, for example), different regions have their own regional varieties of julbord food, too. In Norrland, it’s not uncommon to find moose or reindeer meat dishes amongst all the fish and pork and beef.

And now, if you excuse me, det är dags för Kalle Anka och hans vänner. And presents, because in Sweden we give Christmas presents on the 24th.

God Jul till alla mina läsare!!!

I’ll see you here again on December 27th!

image: Wikipedia, because I’m not that ambitious as a cook. 🙂

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  1. Timan:

    Hej Anna, alla kompisar,
    Ja önskar er GodJul oc GottNyttÅr !
    As George Orwell( Animal farm )or contre Stalin.. said one must not eat this..sylta (headcheese ) unless has an ambition to be a politician..remember his ademocratic socialist.In Arabiska sylta orally means Makt(power)related to politics..
    Obs,wish u received my julcard in time!

  2. Kenia:

    God jul och God Nytt År till dig Anna!
    Thanks for all these posts you’ve written about Christmas in Sweden, they’re very nice and interesting!
    I really wonder how Kalla Anka became such a tradition in julafton i Sverige.

    Take care


  3. Adrian Liechti:

    Disneys Juleshow er også en fast tradition her i Danmark, ja i hele Norden ifølge Wikipedia:

    “From All of Us to All of You is an animated television Christmas special, produced by Walt Disney Productions and first presented on December 19, 1958 as part of the Walt Disney Presents anthology series. … The show has been shown infrequently in the US in recent years, but in the Nordic countries (Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway) the show has been broadcast every year since 1959, and has become a holiday classic. Ratings show that around 40% of all Swedes watch it on Christmas Eve, the record (in 1997) being just over half the population.”

    Undskyld sproget – det burde selvfølgelig være svensk. Men i et naboland kan det være morsomt at læse om fænomener, der ofte er velkendte men også undertiden er helt ukendte, – så jeg tillader mig at læse med.


  4. Arsh Jami:

    Hej Anna!
    A really interesting jul food blog!
    I have a request … can you please ask your friend if she can have her grandma part with the recipe for risgrynsgröt? I would love to make it using a `genuine’ Swedish recipe!

    Tack så hemskt mycket,

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