According to a recent survey, eight out of ten Norwegians eat Christmas porridge in the course of the month of December.
The young eat most porridge before Christmas. Not least in the period before Christmas, and on the day before Christmas Eve, when we love to eat Christmas porridge. It is actually the younger generation who are the greatest ‘grøtelskere’ (porridge devourers), more than the adults. 7 out of 10 young people between 18 and 29 years old eat porridge before Christmas, while only half of those over the age of 50 are doing it.
It seems to be a trend that we start Christmas earlier now than before. At one time, we made porridge right before Christmas Eve, and then lasted ‘All the way until Easter’. Now the Christmas porridge eating may already be begun from December 1st, and it is common that the early Christmas porridge is a new porridge tradition for young adults.
‘There are big differences on where in the country we eat most of the mushy dish. Almost half of the west-landers (vestlendingene), 48%, eat Christmas porridge on the day before Christmas Eve, against less than every fifth (18%) of northerners’, said Ida Berg Hauge, General Manager for dairy products (Meieriprodukter – URMelk.no).
Christmas porridge and tradition
The tradition started in the early days when rice came to Norway in the 1300 ’s. Most people first began to eat Christmas porridge around the middle of the 1800 ‘s. But old diaries show that the Christmas porridge was a well-known phenomenon among the people of Bergen (bergenserne) as early as approximately the year 1800.
In the old days, it was common to put out porridge for Santa in barns on farms throughout the country. This was done to please Santa Claus so that he did not find any mischief. Nowadays, this is no longer as common.
The tradition of hiding a scalded almond has also been around for a long time. The lucky ones who gets the almond, wins a pig made from marzipan or another small gift. George Thomas Risåsen, who is the Christmas Conservator at the Norwegian
Folk Museum, says that the almond in Christmas porridge is a custom that was practiced in all three Nordic Royal houses.
‘Visit one of the three Nordic Royal families on Christmas Eve morning, and you’d be served with almond Christmas porridge, and whoever found the almond would get a small gift, just like the rest of us’, says Risåsen.
The practice is supposed to have arisen as a result of an old game where a bean was hidden in a pudding. The one who found it was ‘King bean’ and was allowed to invent names for the others. This custom originated in the 1500 ‘s, and the traditional almond in the porridge is now widespread in all the Nordic countries.
Christmas porridge stops on Christmas day
But when we get to Christmas day and Boxing Day, it stops, show the figures from the survey. The numbers suggest that we are tired of the Christmas porridge by this time. Only 3% report that they eat Christmas porridge on these days. Then Christmas is often tidied away, even before the new year.
Source: melk.no / Norway Today