Christmas in Norway

Norway officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Scandinavian unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and the subantarctic Bouvet Island.

The capital and the largest city of this country is Oslo.

Christmas in Norway

Christmas Celebrations in Norway :

In the end of November, Oslo is decorated and prepared for Christmas. Christmas trees are lit and streets are decorated in the city centre during the first weekend of Advent. The julebord (pre-Christmas parties) crowd fills up the city’s restaurants and clubs, making the weekend nightlife quite busy in this period. Before Christmas people decorate the house with wreaths, angels, gnomes, hearts, stars, and maybe a nativity scene or a gingerbread house and the outside with lights and wreaths. Most families have a Christmas tree in the living room. It has a star at the top and is decorated with garlands, tinsel and ornaments.

Christmas in Norway

Christmas Eve is the main event in Norwegian Christmas celebration. Christmas Eve is the time when presents are exchanged. The gifts are sometimes brought by Santa Claus/’Julenissen’ or by the small gnomes called ‘Nisse’. There are also hobgoblins (Nisse) decorations. Children pick up the presents kept under the Christmas Tree and read the cards on the presents out loud. A sheaf of wheat is often left out for the birds to eat over Christmas. Also a type of rice porridge is sometimes left for the ‘Nisse’ who is believed to guard the farm animals. Another tradition in parts of Norway is that families light a candle every night from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day. In the evening Santa Claus, julenissen, arrives with gifts. Often it is snowing. In the days between Christmas and New Years Eve, romjulen, the children sometimes go from house to house in the afternoon asking for sweets, this tradition is called “Christmas buck”, julebukk. The tradition harkens back to the Viking times when pagans worshipped Thor and his goat, but just a few children keep up the tradition today. On Christmas Day a lot of people have a big brunch at noon or dinner in the afternoon for friends and family. It is done the Italian way and can last for several wonderful hours!

Many different types of cakes, biscuits and special bread called ‘Julekake’ that has raisins, candied peel and cardamom in it, are eaten over the Christmas period in Norway. Rice Porridge or risengrynsgrøt (with butter, sugar and cinnamon or with whipped cream mixed in with multer (orange, wonderful berries found on the mountain – looks like rasberries) is eaten on Christmas Eve either as a meal at lunchtime or as a dessert to the main evening meal. An almond is hidden in the pudding, and if the almond turns up in your portion, you win a pink or white marzipan pig. The main meal is normally pork or mutton ribs served with ‘surkal’ (white or red cabbage, finely chopped and cooked with caraway seeds and vinegar) and potatoes. Many families have their own traditions for this evening, such as decorating the Christmas tree or making a gingerbread house. The most popular Christmas Eve dinner is the ribbe (pork ribs or pork belly, bone in), but lutefisk (cod cured in lye), pinnekjøtt (dry-cured ribs of lamb), boiled cod, ham roast and turkey are also common dishes. Most fish restaurants and restaurants with Norwegian food have Christmas specialities on the menu in November and December. Many Norwegians like to have a a Christmas beer with the food – a malty beer. A drink for Advent and Christmas is gløgg – a warm, spicy drink similar to German Glühwein which is had with pepperkake (gingerbread cookie). The dinner can also consist of a rib with a good crackling, ribbe, (served with “cabbage à la norvégienne”, surkaal, potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, sprouts, prunes and brown sauce), salted and dried ribs of mutton, pinnekjoett, (served with potatoes, carrots and mashed swedes), or lye-treated codfish, lutefisk (served with potatoes, bacon and pea stew).

Traditional cakes and cookies made at Christmas can be julekake (with raisins), kryddekake, delfiakake, rosettbakels, fattigmann, smultringer, goro, silkekaker, pepperkaker, kokosmakroner. Different nuts, fruits, figs, dates and sweets also belong to the celebration.

Christmas Celebrations are grand in Oslo, the capital city of Norway. Apart from that notable Christmas celebrations take place in other cities of Norway like – Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger, Kristiansand, Fredrikstad, Skien, etc.

In Norwegian Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘God Jul’ or ‘Glædelig Jul’.

Wishing all readers Merry Christmas 2019 & Happy New Year 2020 !!!