By Dani Naess Hellesund
Something that not everyone may know is that Christmas is celebrated differently in certain places around the globe. I may not know that much about other Christmas traditions, but I know a little something about how Christmas is celebrated in Norway. The traditions, food, etc. differs a little between the parts of Norway, but I am going tell you about a Norwegian west coast Christmas.
Christmas in Norway is rooted in the Lutheran tradition, although the Christian aspect has been weakened throughout the years. The religious aspects still hold in some places, as well as some traditions that most Norwegians uphold.
It all starts with advent on the first of December, which is the Christian tradition where you start preparing for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. In Norway, as children, we have an advent calendar with 24 days, and you get a small gift or candy for each day until Christmas Eve. A tradition that my family upheld during advent was to light one candle every Sunday on the four Sundays before Christmas. The houses are decorated with Christmas lights, and during advent, the color for decoration is purple. In the windows, people will place advent lights and a shining star.
When I was little, the schools would take the students to church
a week or so before Christmas. The school would also host Christmas workshops in which you made your own Christmas decorations, and they would host a Christmas tree celebration at which we all would eat porridge and sing and dance around the Christmas tree. Norway has become
increasingly more multicultural, so these traditions are not celebrated as much in school as they were before in order to be more politically correct.
In America, Christmas morning is very important, as it is the day of the gifts. In Norway, we do it a little differently. Our American equivalent of your Christmas Eve is celebrated on the 23rd, which we call little Christmas Eve. This is when the tree gets decorated and you relax before the big day, the 24th. On that day, Norway celebrates Christmas. Some go to church, some stay at home cooking, and some get in their cars to go see their family. On Christmas Eve, we eat a great meal. What people eat varies in the different parts of the country, but where I am from, we eat Stick Meat with boiled potatoes, rib fat and mashed kohlrabi. The meat is lamb. For dessert, we usually eat rice cream with raspberry or strawberry sauce. Porridge is also a staple in many homes on Christmas Eve. In the evening, we open the Christmas gifts.
So, that was a little about the Norwegian Christmas celebration. It is very similar, but I guess all countries, and all families, have their own special traditions. No matter how you and your family and friends celebrate Christmas, or even if you do not celebrate it at all, I hope that you have a great holiday season. Merry Christmas!