An old ferry is now serving as a restaurant. I know it isn’t new, but it looks strange to me, eventhough I know it’s a popular place. The restaurant was closed on December 26 when I happened to pass and I guess the staff were not only celebrating Christmas Holidays but also getting a couple of well desered days off after all the Christmas food they had served loads of hungry guests. Sweden has not only “smörgåsbord” to offer, around Christmas it is “julbord” that counts.
It became a tradition to slaughter a pig before Christmas and since fresh meat was precious in the past, they took care of just about everything. Christmas ham, sausages, brawn etc were made and the housewifes had busy days taking care of everything. There should also be different kinds of pickled herring on a julbord, salmon, Janson’s temptation (a gratin of anchovy, potatoes, onion and cream), beetroot salad and red and brown cabbage. This is a rather modest julbord; the restaurants have a big table with God knows how many dishes on.
Before Sweden became a Christian country, our pagan ancesters arranged sacrificial feasts on winter solstice. The missionaries faced both curiosity and suspicion and to make the Swedes turn to “white Christ” as they referred to him, compromising became a necessity. The problem was solved by delaying the pagan feast a couple of days but they didn’t mix its new shape with Christmas day and that’s why we celebrate Christmas on the 24th of December. In other words: We are having a disguised pagan sacrificial feast and celebrate the birth of Christ at the same time. That’s what the tradition says, but I’m not sure that it’s the whole truth. Nevertheless, it’s a good story until historians come up with something new.