Christmas is a very important festival in Greenland. It has unique customs and ways of celebrating the Yuletide season. Families in this part of the world, mainly the villagers of Polar Inuit, like to party, meet each other and exchange gifts during Christmas. It is considered a tradition to gift people with sledges which are pairs of polished tusks. It is almost certain that everyone in the village will receives a gift during Christmas. One can very well say that the celebrations of Christmas in Greenland are quite different from the way it is celebrated in other countries. Traditional Christmas celebrations start off on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. As the countdown towards the main eve of the festival begins, decorations and candles are put up everywhere and stars are hung on most of the windows of houses and public buildings. The streets are well-lit and shops and houses are magnificently decorated. Read on to know how Christmas is celebrated in Greenland.
Christmas Customs From Greenland
Most people attend Christmas services in their traditional outfits. The men wear white anoraks on the eve of Christmas. During Christmas, children sing in front of houses and people generously give them Christmas goodies in return.
The Christmas Tree
Christmas trees are imported from Denmark. Christmas trees are not grown in Greenland, owing to its proximity to the Arctic Circle. Imported Christmas trees are decorated with candles and ornaments by the 23rd of December. Sealskin is hung beside the trees with hearts. Since not everyone can afford importing a tree, others will simply decorate a driftwood tree with heather. The stars and decorations are not taken off until the 6th of January.
The Christmas Feast
During Christmas in Greenland, Mattak is eaten a lot. It basically is blubber contained inside the skin of a whale. It tastes similar to fresh coconut but it is difficult to chew and swallow. 'Kiviak', influenced by Eskimo culture is also eaten during Christmas. It basically is the raw flesh of auks, a type of arctic bird. The flesh that is buried in sealskin for several months until a certain level of decomposition is reached. 'Suaasat' is a barbecued caribou soup and has berries and apples with a crisp topping making for the sweet part of the feast. A lot of Danish pastries are served and are particularly craved for during Christmas. The most sought after delicacy in Greenland is the Christmas cake and people have a gala time relishing homemade cake and mulled wine.
Christmas Traditions In Greenland
On Christmas nights men serve women their food and also pour them coffee. The dinner is followed by games and dancing throughout the night. The children enjoy the festival and also value their Christmas gifts for life. Greenland is believed to be Santa's home or probably even the place he visits during the summer. The place Santa Claus is supposed to visit is believed to be towards the north of the country in Spraglebugten, near Uummannaq. Children often write letters to Santa, making requests or asking for gifts. Greenland hushes down after Christmas celebrations and prepares for New Year's Eve. People in Greenland celebrate 'New Year' twice. This is because in Greenland, by eight in the night, it is New Year's Day in Denmark and at midnight, it is New Year's Day in Greenland.
Read about Christmas and its tradition and customs in Greenland.