There is some debate about whether Santa’s homeland is in Lapland or Greenland. The largest island in the world, Greenland, claims him as their own.
Eighty one per cent of Greenland is under ice cap and it is far too northerly for trees to grow up there. Nevertheless, decorated Christmas trees abound in Greenlandic homes as they have them imported from their Scandinavian neighbors. And while sitting around their Christmas tree many Greenlanders enjoy nibbling on mattak. These are small cubes of raw whale skin with strips of blubber (fat) inside. They are very tough and chewy and are therefore often swallowed whole. Surprisingly, they are said to have a flavor reminiscent of nuts, hazelnuts and coconuts are often mentioned in the description.
Another unusual foodstuff enjoyed in Santa’s homeland is kiviak. Small black and white birds called Little Auks are caught and their flesh is then placed inside the naturally oily skin of a seal. This package is then buried in the ground and weighted down with a stone. After several months fermenting in the ground under the permafrost, the kiviak emerges in a near liquefied state with a very pungent odor which some compare to Stilton cheese. The resulting liquid is often used as a sauce.
Santa and his fellow Greenlanders tuck into suaasat at Christmas time. This is a stew made with rice and onions, with whatever meat is available. Often this will be seal meat, but whale, reindeer and walrus are all used. Braised polar bear is enjoyed whenever the occasion arises, which is usually in the spring when the pack ice breaks up and a bear gets stranded. The meat is said to be very coarsely textured.
So if you should bump into Santa on Christmas Eve and would like to wish him a Merry Christmas in his mother tongue, just say juullimi ukiortaassamilu pilluarit, that’s if you can.