Hip hip hooray, it’s the holiday season! The tree is glowing, eggnog is flowing and all through the state, folks are bustling around, gathering last minute supplies for their seasonal fare. Experience Oregon’s diverse cultures and traditions through food: from the Danish Julefrokost to Japanese O-Shogatsu New Years, traditional holiday hams and Hanukkah latkes, it’s all delicious to us and we hope you’ll join in the feast!

Some of Astoria’s earliest settlers were Scandinavian and the town celebrates its heritage annually at the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival in June. If you can’t make it to this coastal town during the summer, be sure to pop into Danish Maid Bakery when you’re in town for Scandinavian treats.

Though Julefrokost is a Christmas lunch tradition, where diners enjoy Danish dishes of herring and Swedish meatballs and imbibe on beer and aquavit (a Swedish potato-based vodka), you can get a taste of these dishes year-round at Broder, a Swedish restaurant in Portland’s Clinton neighborhood.

At the Portland Japanese Garden celebrate O-Shogatsu, the New Year, by taking traditional Japanese crafts classes held at the gardens, such as calligraphy. On January 16, join Chef Naoko as she demonstrates the preparation of special New Year’s dishes and take home the recipes.

Welcome in 2011, the year of the rabbit, at Lan Su Chinese Garden with the lion dances on Thursday, February 3. The lion team returns each weekend day through Feb. 13. To ring in the New Year, Lan Su will host traditional Chinese activities including lantern making, storytelling, tai chi, mahjong, music and dance performances and lectures on Feng Shui through Feb. 17.

The traditions of a Basque Christmas include the Olentzero or coal man, who comes down from the mountains bearing gifts of chestnuts and wine. The Basque communities in Eastern Oregon’s Jordan Valley stems back to its earliest settlers from the late 1800s. Take part in this region’s deeply rooted culture at the Old Basque Inn where you can dine on customary Spanish cuisine.

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