Families and friends gather together to share the warm, festive atmosphere of the evening and enjoy the various traditional Christmas dishes. The main Christmas meal is eaten in the early evening.
The Christmas table in Finland features a wide variety of traditional delicacies. It’s traditional to eat rice porridge and drink plum fruit juice for breakfast. One almond is hidden in the porridge and whoever finds that almond will be lucky for the next year. Lutefish (salt fish) is the traditional starter, but is not so common nowadays. The main meal is a leg of pork served with mashed potatos which are traditionally baked slowly in the birch-bark boxes inside the oven with similarly cooked mashed swede. Casseroles containing different vegetables including, rutabaga, carrot and potato are also common. Cured salmon is very popular and some people also have turkey.
Perhaps the three most essential dishes on Finnish Christmas table are oven-baked ham, rutabaga casserole and mixed beetroot salad called Rosolli. Without the taste of these traditional dishes, there would be something missing in Finnish Christmas celebration.
“Glögi”, a type of mulled wine, is a favored hot drink at Christmas time. It is usually made out of red wine or red juice of some sort, mixed with spices like cardamon and cinnamon, then served with raisins and almonds.