Posted by: Sarah | September 14, 2010

It’s Confirmation Time In Norway

We’ve not been up to much in Norway just recently – just lots of work and travelling.  However, the other day I noticed a lot of Confirmation cards in the shops.  Then I started noticing the updates from my friends on Facebook who were all attending confirmation ceremonies over these past few weeks.  So I felt a blog post coming on…

Confirmation is traditionally thought of as a religious ceremony and for a majority of Norwegians this is still the case.   However, an increasing number of Norwegians are now considering it more of a “coming of age” ceremony – more of a civil ceremony.  At the age of 15 teenagers take part in a course  ran by The Norwegian Humanist Association, which is designed to teach people about what it means to live in harmony, the importance of human rights and ethics of living in Norwegian society.  Apparently 17% of Norwegian 15 year olds are now taking part in the program and it’s increasing year on year.  Norwegians living abroad can even take the course via e-mail. 

This is then followed by a confirmation ceremony.  Religious celebrations normally take place as an extension of the church service and civil confirmations vary from location to location.  However, the ceremony itself is quite similar.   Music and poetry are woven throughout the celebration but as I understand it speeches are a core part of the day where adults offer words,  addressing them about making choices, getting more responsibility and about engaging in more than the little family circle.   Likewise, one of the youths will make a speech summing up what the course has been all about.

The ceremony is normally followed by a  formal dinner party for family and friends.  People wear their best outfits with many wearing the national dress – the Bunad.  It’s not unusual for Mothers and Grandparents to spend years making and embroidering a Bunad for a confirmant in their family.  They are beautiful outfits.  If you’re out and about during these weeks you will often see groups of people all dressed up in national dress, often attending a confirmation ceremony of some kind.

I love this part of Norwegian culture.  I think it’s so nice that teenagers want volunteer to take part in a civil confirmation program but what’s more, they wear their national dress with pride.


  1. Hanna s confirmation is coming up.

    • Fantastic! I just love the confirmation season – all the lovely bunads come out. So colourful. I might just have to buy Lizzie a mini bunad for the 17th May. Can’t resist.

  2. I had the great pleasure of see all the young people in Oslo making their confirmation in the city hall today. They and their families looked amazing in their native dresses for the humanistic ceremony.. Thank God it was such a beautiful warm day

    • So fantastic John – this is certainly confirmation season as you see dinner parties all over Oslo with everyone in bunads. So lovely.

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