12 Days of Christmas
For the last 25 years, The Butchart Gardens in Victoria (Brentwood Bay, actually) has illuminated its world famous gardens with Christmas lights for the month of December. I go almost every year I am home, and this year I enjoyed a stroll through the gardens and dinner with Brigitte (my sister in-law) and my lovely neighbour, Ellen.
There is a very popular display of the Twelve Days of Christmas spread through the Gardens. The twelve days in the song represent the twelve festive days starting Christmas Day and ending the day before Epiphany Day (January 6, or the Twelfth Day). Some traditions celebrate Boxing Day as the first day and Epiphany as the 12th – either way it is a fun song! Enjoy my pictures of The Butchart Gardens’ rendition of the twelve days and sing along if you like.
My neighbour Ellen is Danish, and she tells me that on the first day of Christmas, the 25th in her family (for some Danes it is on Christmas Eve), they always eat a traditional Danish rice pudding with whipped cream and chopped almonds, served cold. It is called Risalamande. To add to the fun, the cook hides a whole almond in the pudding. The person who finds the almond gets the Almond Present, which is traditionally a marzipan pig that brings good fortune to the winner. Everyone waits until all the pudding is gone before disclosing who found the hidden nut.
Danes eat this luscious dessert with a cherry sauce called Kirsebaersauce spooned over the individual servings of rice pudding. Ellen serves it now with a strawberry coulis she thickens with a little cornstarch.
Here is my version of Risalamande, Epicurized of course!
Glaedelig jul! Joyeux Noël! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Holidays!
May peace be your gift at the holidays and your blessing all year through!