Christmas in Norway: Christmas Eve
Church services are held around five p.m. on Christmas Eve. Those who attend return home to a sumptuous Christmas dinner. Popular main dishes include roast pork, sausages, and mutton. Many people also serve lutefisk (boiled codfish previously preserved in lye), a tradition surviving from past times when Norwegians abstained from eating meat on Christmas Eve. Like the Danes, Norwegian families also serve a dish of rice pudding with a single almond in it. Whoever finds the almond in their serving of pudding will have luck in the coming year. Other favorite Christmas desserts include crème caramel and cloudberry cream.
After dinner, some families take out the Bible and listen to one family member read the Gospel passages describing the birth of Jesus (see Gospel according to Luke; Gospel according to Matthew).
Then the family gathers around the Christmas tree, joins hands, and sings Christmas carols. To the relief of many impatient children, opening gifts comes next. Before going to bed many families make sure to leave out a bowl of pudding for the Julenisse.