Ow, blogging is not a piece of cake. I started this blog thinking to myself that I will be churning out posts faster than China is giving out loans.
Speaking of cakes, you might know the famous how to eat a cake procedure. If not, here it goes:
- Cut a small piece.
- Take the rest of the cake and leave the small piece.
Anyway, the past weeks have been … special! I have gotten inspiration to write, but little to no strength (maybe time too) to do it. But a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.
Christmas, for many people, is that time of the year when we give good vibes, chill with wonderful people and eat good food. For others, it’s all about giving. Giving support to the less fortunate (and taking pictures while at it. SHAME!). To these, we repeat the old adage;
if you are going to help the poor, leave your camera at home!
This also goes, for the foreigners who flock many villages across Africa, Asia and Latin America in a bid to “Save” them, parading the villagers on social media saying how happy they were to receive aid. Don’t get me wrong, many people need aid, but stop trying to be famous while offering it.
Anyway, back to Christmas. Different people have different Christmas traditions. I had the rare privilege of spending this year’s in Norway. And these guys, have a lot of traditions!
Here are some of the things I enjoyed:
Christmas Calendar (julekalender)
Once the calendar turns to 1st December, then Christmas officially starts. There is a series of short movies called julekalender that people gather to watch, an episode a day until Christmas eve. Additionally, many people buy a box partitioned into 24 compartments each with chocolate inside and labelled 1 to 24. A chocolate a day, obviously not to keep the doctor away.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the countdown is done, does this remind you of the top right/left corner of the high school blackboard (Maybe white board if you went to a group of schools at the time), where you’d write the countdown to KCSE? You take a nap when it’s 82 days to KCSE and wake up 5 minutes later to find 12 days remaining! Boss, sema stress!
Christmas Table (Julebord)
This is basically an end of the year party for companies and organizations.
Almond in porridge (Mandel i grøtt)
On almost every serious Christmas meal, like the above mentioned julebord, it is common to have porridge with cream for dessert. But the real deal is the almond. Before the porridge is served, someone puts an almond in it (and possibly stirs to randomize). Then comes the serving, and eating. The goal? Get the almond! Whoever gets the almond earns themself a gift. Whatever that may be. The only catch is, do not eat the almond before you get the gift, so when you find the almond in your porridge, keep, actually hide it, until you get the gift.
You might be thinking, why am I taking time to talk about a tiny almond in a huge bowl of porridge? Well, it is a nice tradition but the real reason is, on my first ever Christmas table, having no idea about this tradition, I sat with my porridge and guess what? YES! Found the almond! Bingo!
Christmas Eve (juleaften)
This is when the celebrations are held. It is the one day of the year when Norwegians go to church!! Again, because it’s tradition. You get there late, and you easily miss a place to sit. O that we may pray for preachers not to make a mess of the sermon on this crucial day.
I got to spend the eve with a wonderful family in very nice weather (snowy, cold, with some sunlight … beautiful). I met a brilliant 92-year-old man who experienced the world war, speaks English, German, Norwegian and Latin, drives himself, is on Facebook, and, despite all his friends and wife having died, is strong and reads every day to keep his brain cells going! Few are like him!
It is not my intention to tell you about the many (often unnecessary) gifts people (especially children) get. But to highlight a fun way to distribute gifts. Buy gifts and wrap them, have people sit around and give them a die/dice. Decide the side(s) of the dice which allow someone to pick a gift (take 6 and 1 for example) and pass the dice on. When you get a 6 or a 1, you can either take a gift from the stack of gifts or from someone that had picked one for themself earlier. Watch as some have fun while others get frustrated! You can choose to stop the game any time after the gifts have all been picked. If someone does not have a gift when you stop, they pick one from the one with the most.
You can try this with pieces of roast meat for fun!