24 bits of Norwegian Christmas
The biggest holiday of the year is just around the corner. Norskbloggen brings you 24 bits of Norwegian Christmas tradition. Make sure to add the words to your vocabulary! Join us in the celebrations!
The Norwegian word for Christmas. Before Christianity Norwegians celebrated Jól at the coldest full moon of the year. Yule or Yuletide is still used in English.
A 24-day “calendar” — often home made — starting 1. December. A little present (often chocolate!) is hidden behind each date in the calendar.
During the 4 weeks before Christmas, Norwegians show a surprising austerity with candles, 1 candle the first Sunday, 2 candles the second, 3 on the third and then finally all 4.
The office Christmas party. Where you may see surprisingly bad behavior by colleagues who seemed completely normal, even shy for the rest of the year...
Part of the reason for the surprisingly bad behavior. Norwegians can choose between over 230 kinds of beer brewed specially for the season.
We send Christmas cards to family and friends, with the highlights of the years that past, the news about family members and so on. Or we just post it on facebook.
On average, we spend about 5-6 000 kroner on Christmas gifts this year. The presents are put under the Juletre, brought by Julenissen or shipped to relatives far away with Juleposten.
You can’t send a present via email, so around this time Posten (the Norwegian mail service) ships hundreds of thousands of julepakker and julekort across the country.
In the old days people could cut a Christmas tree in their own forest, nowadays we get them from the man outside Seven-Eleven, or you can order a “Fake tree” online.
In the middle of November Norwegian zine fans run to the newsstand to get their annual fix of Christmas cartoons: 91 Stomperud, Knoll og Tott, Vangsgutane and many more...
“Little Christmas Eve” is December 23rd. People prepare for the big day tomorrow. Many start the party early. But almost everybody stopwhat they’re doing at 21.00 to watch “Hovmesteren”.
Grevinnen og Hovmesteren
An 11 minute TV sketch from the 1960s about the butler who impersonates and drinks as all the guests at his Countesses 90th birthday party. “Same procedure as last year” — Don’t miss it!
Throughout the year, many churches are now struggling to fill the pews, but on Christmas Eve many have schedule 2 or 3 services on the day day to accommodate the multitudes who want to hear the Juleevangeliet read out loud.
We sing christmas songs in church and at home, joining hands and walking/dancing/jumping around the Christmas tree. Our Top 3 Picks:
På låven sitter nissen
Å Jul, med din Glede
Deilig er Jorden
For reasons unknown, our finest pop stars feel compelled to issue “New Age” versions of famous Christmas hymns late in October, and you can hear them (cannot avoid them) when you go shopping.
Burning candles is a winter tradition which reaches its peak at Christmas. Some folks even burn real candles on their Christmas trees, but electric candles are strongly recommended!
The Fire departments in Norway respond to 50% more fires during Christmas than the rest of the year. Candles and cooking fat are the two biggest reasons. Be careful with both!
The most important person of Christmas. There are two kinds of “nisse” in Norway; the little guys who eat the porridge in the barn, and the big guy who brings the presents to all children.
Å bære ut julen
To carry out Christmas, means to visit someone during the holidays and leave without having anything to eat. Don’t do it, it’s bad luck and you might starve later!!!
Ribbe — Pork ribs
Sylte — Pickled Pork
Svinestek — Pork roast
Smalahove — Sheeps head
Pinnekjøtt — Birch smoked sheep rib
Lutefisk — Lutefisk
Rakørret — Fermented trout
Julegrøt — Christmas porridge
Julekake — Christmas cake
7 sorter — 7 kinds (of cookies)
Using gingerbread dough as construction material, Norwegians experiment with all kinds of architecture and then eventually eat the whole building... This 4-year old is an expert...
As you know Norwegians love not to go to work. During the week between Christmas and New Year — romjulen — school’s out and so most Norwegian grownups also take the week off.
Don’t be surprised if your door bell rings during romjulen, and you find some strangely dressed children at your door asking for cookies. “Å gå julebukk” is an old Halloween-like tradition.
Have you tried Norwegian Christmas food yet? Got a Lutefisk story? Are you/your family going to be observing/celebrating Christmas at all? - Share your story in the comment window below!
Lingu ønsker deg en Riktig God Jul!