And so it is Christmas. Like many places around the world, Sweden celebrates on Christmas Eve. Festivities throughout the day include eating the Christmas ham, receiving a visit from Santa, opening presents, drinking, playing board games and eating more.
But the day usually kicks off with a steaming bowl of rice porridge. This delightful dish is made of rice, milk, sugar and cinnamon. Deep inside the porridge, there is often an almond. Presuming you don’t choke on it, if you find the almond it means you will be married during the following year. In the south of Sweden, and in Denmark, Norway and Iceland, the person finding the almond receives a gift. During the 1920’s it became trendy in Sweden to replace the almond with a ‘porridge doll’ made of porcelain and hide that in the porridge instead.
Really superstitious people will even leave a bowl of porridge outside tonight to appease the house gnome who, according to legend, can make your cows dry up if he’s pissed off.
But hopefully nobody should be pissed off on a day like today. And with family and friends gathered around a twinkling Christmas tree, a bowl of steaming hot rice porridge is a great way to kick off a lovely day.