Christmas in Greenland is a wonderful time for all. Decorating Christmas trees forms an important part of the Christmas celebrations in Greenland. The Christmas trees are imported from Denmark and other countries, as these trees do not grow in the country. One unusual custom followed in Greenland, is that the men serve food and coffee to the women of the house on Christmas Eve. The 'mattak' and 'kiviak' are two essential dishes that form an integral part of the Christmas feast. After the feast, the family members play games as part of their celebrations. As Christmas is a special occasion for all, people attend Masses at church, dressed in their traditional Greenlandic outfits. An exceptional tradition of Greenland is that, during Christmas, groups of children sing Christmas carols in front of people's houses and receive goodies from the residents. People in Greenland believe that Santa Claus lives in Greenland. Read this article to know more about Christmas in Greenland.
Customs, Traditions & Celebrations
Christmas is a wonderful occasion in Greenland. The people here follow unique customs and traditions during the Christmas season. Christmas in Greenland begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, which is the first day of the Advent. People in this country celebrate Christmas by visiting their families, friends, exchanging presents, dancing, singing Christmas carols and so on.
Weeks before Christmas, people decorate their houses with glittering ornaments and string lights. They hang big Christmas stars over their windows to illuminate their houses and to reflect the festive occasion. In Greenland, people not only light several candles and red Christmas stars in their homes, but these are also lit in shops across towns and cities. The streets are heavily lit with Christmas lights and stars, which look gorgeous in the backdrop of the night. All the Christmas decorations are usually taken down after 6th January or the 'Twelfth Night' after Christmas.
The Christmas trees are lit on the first Sunday of the Advent. In Greenland, a Christmas tree is placed on a hill in each village for everyone to witness and appreciate. At home, people in Greenland decorate their Christmas trees with candles, tinsels and beautiful ornaments on the 23rd of December. Neatly wrapped presents are placed under the Christmas tree, comprising of popular gifts like miniature sleds, mitts made from sealskin or a pair of polished tusks. In Greenland, Christmas trees are imported from other countries like Denmark, as these trees cannot grow in Greenland's extremely cold climates.
Christmas Feast In Greenland
A magnificent feast is served on Christmas Eve that includes Greenland's best dishes. A huge Christmas cake is served along with homemade mulled wine as part of the feast. The 'suaasat' is a soup, which is a favourite dish among the people of Greenland. Other Christmas dishes include barbecued caribou and sushi. Berries and apples with crisp toppings are a popular dessert, served along with other dishes. 'Mattak' is a Christmas treat shared among the family. The 'Kiviak' is another Greenland specialty, which is actually an auk's raw flesh that is buried in sealskin for many months, until it is completely decomposed.
According to traditions in Greenland, men often look after the women in the household, by dishing out hot cups of coffee and food on Christmas Eve. After the Christmas dinner, families get together and indulge in merrymaking, often, by playing games. One special game played by the family members is passing an object from one hand to another under a cloth. On Christmas Eve, every person in Greenland attends church in their Greenlandic dress or in a white 'anorak'.
It is customary for children in Greenland to sing Christmas carols in front of houses in the town. Following their performance, these children are usually awarded with small treats and gifts by the residents in the community. On this day, everyone in the family dance around the Christmas tree, which is a unique tradition followed in Greenland.
The people in Greenland believe that Santa Claus lives in Spraglebugten, Greenland. They claim and take pride in the fact that Greenland is the home of Santa Claus or 'Father Christmas'. Children in Greenland, as well as, in other countries write letters to Santa Claus asking him for gifts. The letters are addressed to the 'North Pole' but eventually; they reach the post office in Greenland's capital, Nuuk. Children know that Greenland is connected to the North Pole by ice and so, around 50,000 letters are sent to Santa Claus annually. These letters are also replied to by the post office employees. According to Greenlandic legends, Santa Claus's sleigh is not pulled by reindeers but by dogs.
Christmas is a special time for the people in Greenland. Christmas decorations form an integral part of the celebrations. People believe that Greenland is the home of Santa Claus. The tradition of men serving women food and coffee on Christmas Eve is a unique one followed in Greenland, for years.