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Julebord aboard the steamer «Gustavsberg VII» in 1990

Julebord (Norwegian; Swedish julbord; Danish julefrokost) is a Scandinavian feast or banquet in the days before Christmas in December, and partly in November, where there is served traditional Christmas food and alcoholic beverages, often in the form of a buffet. The julebord is organized by employers or organizations and others for the employees or members. Originally, the julebord belonged to Christmas itself, i.e. the period from Christmas Day and onwards. [1][2][3]

Many julebords are characterized by large amounts of food and drink, both traditional and new, hot and cold dishes. There is often lively partying and the party can be an important social meeting place for colleagues. Julebords are a popular tradition that creates high season for the restaurant industry, the taxi industry and ferry companies Fjord Line, Stena Line, DFDS, Hurtigruten and Color Line during these months. Norwegian revelers spends billions of Kroner on food and beverages alone during this period.[4]


The Norwegian word jule-bord and the Swedish word jul-bord directly translates as "Christmas-table",[5] while jule-frokost means "Christmas-lunch".


typical Christmas "svineribbe" or Pork ribs. It is estimated that Norwegians consume over 3 000 tons of "ribbe" every Christmas.

The custom of julebord originated in the Middle Ages, when it was customary to leave the food all through the Christmas period so poor people and vagrants could feed themselves. Before, it was also common to let the remains of the Christmas meal remain on the table or place it out in the yard on Christmas night in order to appease mythical creatures such as the trolls or the nisses which were widely believed to roam the forests. During the night, animals would eat the food, and upon seeing the missing food in the morning, the people would interpret this as the mythical creatures having eaten the food, thus becoming appeased.

A plate of lutefisk, which is typical for Julebord, from a restaurant in Oslo.

Traditional Julebord cuisine[edit]

Traditional Norwegian Christmas food is usually served at Julebord events. These include: Rice pudding (risengrynsgraut), pork rib (ribbe), lamb or mutton (pinnekjøtt), spicy sausage (medisterpølse) and lutefisk. The meal is usually served along with sour cabbage (surkål), brussels sprout and lingonberry jam. It is customary to drink akevitt as an aperitif.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ina Louise Stovner. "julebord". Store norske leksikon. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  2. ^ "'Julefrokost' – A Danish Christmas Party". littlescandinavian.com. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  3. ^ "The Swedish 'julbord': a beginner's guide". The Local Europe AB. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  4. ^ Bjerkestrand, Frode. "O' julebord med din skandale". BT.no (in Norwegian). Retrieved 9 December 2012.
  5. ^ Einar Haugen (1974) Norwegian-English Dictionary: A Pronouncing and Translating Dictionary of Modern Norwegian (University of Wisconsin Press) ISBN 978-0299038748