Christmas in Norway
Though businesses in Norway are trying to Westernize everything as much as possible and capitalize on the gift-giving part of Christmas, the Christmas Story is generally still told in schools and day-cares. The children learn Christmas songs and may even be taken to a special Christmas service at the local state (Lutheran) church.
A few weeks before Christmas, Norwegians celebrate St. Lucia Day. A day to celebrate light in the darkest part of winter. It is tradition on St. Lucia Day for the oldest girl in the family (or older girls at the day-care) to dress in white and lead the kids to march in a procession carrying candles and delivering Lucia buns to hospitals and city centers while singing St. Lucia’s song.
Saint Lucia (English translation)
Black night is falling in stables and homes.
The Sun has gone away, the shadows are threatening.
Into our dark house enters with lit candles,
Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia!
The night is dark and silent; suddenly a rush
in all quiet rooms, like the waving of wings.
See, at our threshold stands, dressed in white with lights in her hair,
Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia!
Christmas in Norway is called Jul. The main celebration is on Christmas Eve. They eat rice-pudding for lunch and pinnekjøtt (dried pork roasted in a pan over small sticks) for supper. Another popular food is pepperkaker (almost the same as ginger bread cookies except they actually have black pepper in them!) They have a Christmas Eve service that is probably the only service many Norwegians actually attend. Then the open their gifts in the evening.
Christmas day and the day after are usually times for enjoying the day as a family or for visiting other family members.
One famous Norwegian Christmas tradition is the gifting of a big Christmas Tree to the UK every year. The tree is a present to say ‘thank you’ for the help that the people of the UK gave to Norway during World War II. The tree stands in Trafalgar Square in the middle of London and often hundreds of people come to watch the initial lighting of the Norwegian Gift Tree. (source)
Many Norwegian families will light a candle every day between Christmas and New Years Day.
Glædelig Jul (Merry Christmas!)
Many Thanks to Ruth T. for helping with research for this post!
- Norwegian Gift Tree
- Song of St. Lucia
- Lucia Rolls Photos
- Lucia Rolls Recipe – scroll down to bottom for recipe
- Norwegian Waffles Recipe
- Norwegian Traditional Costumes
- Print a free coloring page of the Norway Map and Flag
- Watch an instruction video for beginning Rosemaling (Norwegian folk painting)
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