Not every neighborhood has a mead hall. But ours does! Skål Beer Hall is a cheerful, modern take on a gathering place for Nordic friends and family in Ballard. As the days gets shorter and Christmas draws closer, the bar is serving up Gløgg based on owner Adam McQueen's family recipe.
If you not close enough to visit Skål , you can still make Gløgg for your guests and any passing tomte.
The question comes up every Julefest: just how many aebleskiver do you make? The answer for 2019 was more than 3,000! As for meatballs, more than 3,400 were served, along with 797 glasses of glogg.
None of this would have been possible without more than 150 volunteers who helped set up, run, and stayed late to clean up after the 42nd Julefest.
Total attendance for the 2019 Julefest was well over 12,000.
In Finland, the afternoon of Christmas eve is reserved for a visit to the special Christmas sauna, joulusauna. So to get ready for Julefest and other holiday celebrations, we’re taking a virtual trip to the oldest working sauna on the West Coast: the Finnish sauna in the Museum’s East Garden.
While the sauna won’t be open for Julefest, you can visit the outside after getting your aebleskiver and coffee in the East Garden. Learn more about how our sauna made it to the National Nordic Museum in this article by Fred Poyner IV.
Outnumbering people nearly two-to-one (even today), the Icelandic sheep is a long-fleeced, sturdy beast that resembles—after a summer of wandering the high moors and deep valleys—a wild, dirty, ill-tempered mop. The Icelandic sheep’s coat is the very thing that makes it unique and valuable; instead of a single layer of downy fleece, these sheep are dual-coated. The outer layer (tog) is coarse, long, and water-repellent. The inner layer (Þel) is soft and insulating. And author Justin Allan Spencer argues that this humble sheep made it possible for the Vikings to survive in Iceland.
The importance of knitting to Icelandic culture also is revealed in Jólakötturinn (The Yule Cat). This giant and fearsome beast is said to devour any child who doesn’t receive a piece of newly knitted clothing on Christmas Eve.
Hans Christian Andersen's most famous character may be the Little Mermaid, but learn more about his futuristic fairy tales in the first lecture of our Scandinavian 30 series. Additional free lectures look at the impact of climate change on trolls, what the Vikings thought about doomsday, Hygge, Tom of Finland, Norwegian crime fiction, and popular North European proverbs. There's something for everyone in our popular second Thursday lecture series.