December 23, 2008
"The Day Before The Dipping Day".
When I was growing up in Sweden, the last day before Christmas Eve had a special and somewhat strange name. The 23d of December was called "Dan Före Dopparedan". Dopparedan is a shortage for Dopparedagen, which in translation means "Dipping Day". When the two other words; "Dan Före" are added, the meaning becomes "The Day Before The Dipping Day". Ok, so what is this dipping business all about? "Dipping" in this case is referring to a meal called "dopp i grytan" (transl: dip in the cooking pot), which was served on the 24th of December, on the evening of Christmas Eve, in the old times in Sweden. The left over broth from the cooking of the Christmas ham or sausages was reduced and spiced up, transferred to a big bowl and placed in the middle of the table. It was then served with soft bread, which was dipped into the spicy soup in the bowl. This is an old Swedish tradition, but I do not think it is very common to serve this meal anymore. However, the name is still widely used, especially describing the 23d of December in Sweden.
In many Scandinavian countries today is also called "Little Christmas Eve". Often a private Christmas is celebrated on this day by couples, with or without children, that are to spend Christmas Eve with their parents, grandparents of others members of their close or extended family.
Merry Little Christmas Eve to everyone in Scandinavia.