Posted by: Sarah | December 15, 2009

A Quick Guide To Christmas In Norway


It’s the run up to Christmas and we’re really starting to feel the festive spirit now.  Oslo is lit up beautifully, the outdoors ice rink is open and the shops are full of festive food.  Eliot and I are staying in Norway for Christmas and New Year and in keeping with tradition, we’re planning to celebrate in true “Norwegian” style so here’s a quick  guide as to how Norwegians will be celebrating this year! 

First of all “Merry Christmas” in Norwegian is “God Jul”

December 13:  Santa Lucia Day
This day celebrates the “queen of lights” and at daybreak there’s a procession in most schools where girls dress in white robes, holding a candle and boys dress up as star boys in long white shirts and pointed hats.  This is said to commence the Christmas festivities in the country.

December 23:  Lillejulaften (Little Christmas Eve)
This is the day Norwegians decorate their Christmas tree and boy, do the Norwegians love their Christmas Tree.  Mine came out of the box (like every year) and my colleagues were pretty horrified at the thought of a plastic tree.  Ooops!  It’s also a well-known fact that the Norwegians give England a grand tree which stands on Trafalgar Square in London to remind the English of how the Norwegians were thankful for their support during the years of Nazi occupation.

December 24:  Julaften (Christmas Eve)
This is the main day that Norwegians celebrate Christmas.  At 5pm the church bells ring signalling the start of Christmas and many Norwegians will attend religious services (over 80% of Norwegians are religious).  The main meal is served in the evening along with traditional Norwegian drinks (watch out for the next post on this with all the details)

December 25:  Først Jule Dag (First Christmas Day)
Christmas in Norway is celebrated  the day before so this day is spent visiting relatives, drinking more Juløl and eating more food.   However, our household will be celebrating an English Christmas – our second celebration in the week!

 

Period Between December 25 and New Years Day:  Romjulen
Not to be confused with “Romulans” from Star Trek, this is the period of time in between Christmas and New Year.  This is also like a mini Halloween in Norway when children often go from house to house in the afternoons singing and performing for sweets.  This tradition is known as “Julebukk” or “Christmas buck” and was very popular in the Viking era when pagans worshipped Thor and his goat.

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Responses

  1. there is one wrong statement in here, 80% of norwegian are NOT religious, it might seem that way because 80% of the population is in the state church. This is because everyone is automatically written in at birth, and it’s too big of a hassle to get out of it.

    • Oh – didn’t realise that. Thanks! I must admit that I don’t see many folks on their way to church on Sundays.

  2. Good post. I absolutely love this site. Stick with
    it!


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