For the Norwegians the Christmas means a time in the light of the candles, the aroma of newly baked cakes mixed with the smell of fir and pine, gifts under the tree and Santa Claus, “julenissen”.Spanish version
Like in Spain, during the time of Advent (the four Sundays before the 24th of December), the kids play with the calendar that shows these days of waiting, the julekalender. Every morning they open a window from this calendar containing chocolate.
In the main streets of many of the cities in Norway, they set up traditional Christmas markets, season concerts and activities related to this time of year. Oslo has a very busy schedule full of Christmas activities and markets in the streets, Bergen is famous for its gingerbread village, for its choir concerts and also for its magical Christmas markets where you can find the most typical Norwegian Christmas gifts. The mining town Røros, world heritage site by UNESCO, is truly a magical place to visit during Christmas, and the Christmas House Treggarden in Drøbak which is the only Christmas store that remains open the whole year are places you just have to visit.
According to the magazine Travel & Leisure Magazine, Tromsø is one of the best places in the world to spend the Christmas holiday; it offers the opportunity to see the Northern lights (aurora borealis) being above the Artic Polar Circle during these special days. The visitors can enjoy sleigh rides pulled by dogs, delicious food and a cable car that takes you to a mountain where you can enjoy a wonderful view.
Many families have their own traditions the days before Christmas, like decorating the Christmas tree or making a gingerbread house. Many eat porridge with sugar, cinnamon and butter, and inside the porridge you hide an almond. The one who finds the almond on his or hers plate, wins a marzipan piglet.
Saint lucy´s day
The 13th of December, the day of Santa Lucia, the first day of the Christmas celebration in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, is the shortest day of the year and one of the few holy days celebrated in the Scandinavian countries. It was not until after the Second World War that the celebration of Santa Lucia was imported from Sweden to Norway and adopted to a greater extent.
Santa Lucia is celebrated mainly in kinder gardens and elementary schools. However, the last years it has also been incorporated in the liturgy of the Advent in the Norwegian church, where visitors can see the processions.
This day you prepare traditional christmas sweets called lussekatter, which basically is bread of saffron.
Julebord is the name of the Norwegian Christmas dinners that is celebrated the days before the 24th, with friends or colleagues from work. Many companies have acquired the habit of inviting major clients and their employees to this traditional Christmas feast.
The traditional food served on a Julebord is: Rice with milk (risensgrynsgrøt), ribs of pork (Ribbe), lamb (pinnekjøtt), sausages (medisterpølse), aged stockfish or dried/salted whitefish and lye (lutefisk), cod (Juletorsk). Usually this is served with sauerkraut, beet and foxberry sauce. As it is a heavy meal, it is normal to drink beer and aquavit to digest it easier.
Christmas Eve , December 24
The 24th is the most important day of the Christmas. The first part of the day you normally buy the last Christmas gifts or go to church. At 5pm the Christmas starts and most of the Norwegians have dinner with their families. The Christmas gifts have already been put under the Christmas tree and you open them later at night.
The dinner normally consists of ribs of pork or lamb, or in some parts of the country, cod. The dinner is served with cooked potatoes, sausages and foxberry sauce. The drinks that accompany the dinner are Norwegian beer and aquavit, a drink made of potatoes distilled in 40 degrees and flavored with herbs, while the kids drink a red Christmas drink.
At the end of the meal, after the dessert, you leave the table to sit around the table in the living room drinking coffee, while waiting for the Julenisse (Santa Clause) to come. It is often difficult for the smallest kids to sit still during the dinner, because of the great expectation of what comes later: the arrival of Julenissen and the gift opening.
Later follows a family night, most of the restaurants and places of entertainment are closed on Christmas Eve, and the streets are quiet.
The 24th of December people work until mid-day and the stores closes during the evening.
December 25 January 1
The days between Christmas Eve and New Years Eve are usually spent with the family. From the 26th of December, many leave for the city as in the center there is more “life”. From the 27th of December the stores open, and many hurry up to change Christmas gifts that did not fit them or are preferably to be changed.
The 25th and the 26th of December and the 1st of January are national holidays and most of the stores are closed. The 24th of December (Christmas Eve) and the 31st of December are working days, but the stores and the offices close early and other attractions keep closed.