There might be no snow as yet, to remind us of the spectacle that European Christmas is supposed to be. But there is ample decorative lighting and run-up events to the Scandinavian ‘Jul’ (wonder what is the origin of the term Jul for Christmas here).
One of the first such events I was part of is the Julbord, a ceremonial celebration counting down to the Jul, with lots of authentic Swedish food and the special spicy warm wine – Glögg.
I recently got acquainted with the traditional pickled herring, or the mouth watering Sill- deliciously pickled in a variety of spices. Sill is one of the unmissable items on the traditional Swedish dinner table, making appearance in other festivals like the Midsommar, Spring Festival. The variety of pickled fish apart, the dinner also had the signature Swedish meatballs (köttbullar) , and some more special dishes for the occasion, like the Janssons Frestelse, whose pronunciation hasn’t registered in my head, but the taste certainly has.
While I have been talking about the food, have I mentioned where this dinner actually took place?
It was at the Observatory in Slottskogen, and the Julbord was organized by the awesome Chalmers Aerospace Club. We were going to star gaze and listen to a talk on exo planets, while Julbording. The weather which was gloomy and cloudy all week, opened up serendipitously for the night and we were not only able to peep through the telescope, but also catch some special sights.
The Geminid meteor shower is happening for the coming couple of weeks, and we were able to spot couple of meteors already blaze through the atmosphere on Saturday.
The highlight of this particular evening was not the food ( yes, I just said that) but it was the awe inspiring spectacle of the magnanimous Jupiter, with her four massive, Galilean moons. All lined up in a straight line, or that is how it appears from the earth (crossectional view of the plane in which all these 5 bodies lie) .
This might seem common to the ones who are regular star gazers. But it certainly wasn’t for me. Although I am admittedly a science aficionado, I hadn’t seen another planet in such reality before ( have seen Venus transit Sun, but that’s different) ,and it made me all spiritual, as only the grandeur of universe can truly do.
As an end note, the warmth of the people in this event, participants and organizers alike was another highlight. Good food, nice people, lens to the universe and the serenity of Gothenburg skies: what else could be a recipe for an ideal weekend?