Some glimpses of what I did during the Christmas week—enjoyed glogg at Embassy of Sweden, stollens, yules and baked Alaska at The Imperial New Delhi and watched the children light up the Christmas tree at Shangri-La’s Eros Hotel New Delhi. What others are doing—enjoying some Christmas festivities in the Scandinavian countries. What you can do—cook a chocolate goodie with this special recipe by Fun Foods or win some gifts at Delhi Duty Free, Delhi International Airport T3
The Embassy of Sweden in Delhi celebrated Saint Lucy’s Day, also called the Feast of Saint Lucy. This is celebrated on December 13 in Advent, commemorating Saint Lucy, a third century martyr under the Diocletianic Persecution. According to the legend she brought ‘food and aid to Christians hiding in the catacombs’ using a candle-lit wreath to ‘light her way and leave her hands free to carry as much food as possible’. Her feast once coincided with the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year before calendar reforms, so her feast day has become a festival of light.
This is mostly celebrated in Scandinavia where Saint Lucy is called Sankta Lucia in Swedish. In Norway, Sweden and Swedish-speaking regions of Finland, girls dressed as Lucy carry rolls and cookies in procession as songs are sung. Boys participate in the procession as well, playing different roles associated with Christmas. Other countries it is celebrated in—Italy, Sicily, Croatia and Hungary.
What I really enjoyed was a performance by the Delhi Music choir, integrating India with Sweden. And glogg, the mulled red wine with raisins and almonds, and ginger biscuits.
Well, then I hopped on to The Imperial Delhi for some traditional goodies eaten across the world, celebrating the birth of Jesus. And we also got a lesson on baking a mug cake in two minutes by Chef Prem Kumar Pogakula- Executive Sous Chef. The feast included Christmas Stollen, Traditional Plum cake, Ratatouille Tartlets, Leek and Chicken pie, Macaroons amongst other delicious treats.
From there, my last stop was the teddy bear Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Shangri-La’s Eros Hotel New Delhi. With an environment friendly tree, the hotel lived to its spirit of giving. The guests were invited to adopt the hotel’s festive Ambassador ‘The Baby Bear’ for Rs 300 each and the funds collected would be donated to the hotel’s Embrace Partner, Noida Deaf Society (Shangri-La’s care for People Project).
What others are doing
And for the Scandivian countries, the Christmas festivities are still on. For all those like me, the Scandinavian countries comprise Norway, Denmark and Sweden.
In Norway, the period leading up to Christmas is a special time, as the shorter and darker days make for a very cozy time of year. Most Norwegian towns and cities like Trondheim and Oslo offer Christmas fairs and markets, seasonal concerts and performances. Bergen is famous for its Gingerbread Town, holiday concerts Røros is the fairy tale town where you can feed reindeers.
In Sweden, Stockholm’s Old Town (Gamla stan) comes alive with the sweet smell of warm glögg (mulled wine) and pepparkakor (gingerbread cookies), rows of stalls filled with handicrafts, toys, Christmas decorations and seasonal food items like smoked meats, jams and sweets. You can also try your hand at traditional candle making as well as check out the market at Skansen, the world’s oldest open air museum.
In Denmark, Copenhagen oozes of Yuletide atmosphere with lights, decorations, trees, gift shopping, the smell of roasted almonds and the sound of Christmas carols in the street. The best place to soak up the atmosphere is at one of Copenhagen’s Christmas markets.
At the Delhi International Airport T3
But for those of you flying in and out, Delhi Duty Free has launched the ‘Vault of Fortune’ campaign at Delhi Terminal 3. ‘Vault of Fortune’ promotion aims at offering passengers the opportunity to shop and win a gift prize worth $25,000. Two festive themed set-ups have been placed at the Arrivals and Departures stores with the digital lockers. Customers need to shop for at least $250 to get a change to try their luck with a digital code key. This is a month-long ‘SALEBRATIONS’ campaign.
Make it yourself
All those who want to make some fun things at home, try this recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Saltine Toffee (courtesy Fun Foods by Dr Oetker)
100 g Salted Butter, melted
100 g Brown Sugar
60 g (4 tbsp) Dr. Oetker FunFoods Peanut Butter Crunchy
10 Saltine Crackers
100 g Chocolate Chips
50 g Colored Sprinklers
- Line 8 × 8 inch baking pan using butter paper and grease using 1 tsp melted butter.
- Heat non-stick pan (low flame) add remaining butter, brown sugar, cook for 4-5 minutes or entire mixture starts boiling, add peanut butter to hot mixture and mix well.
- Pour peanut butter mixture over saltine crackers, sprinkle chocolate chips on top and keep in refrigerator for 1 hour or until set.
- Decorate saltine crackers using colored sprinklers and serve