A very magical and poetic time of the year. Just like in a fairy story, this is how Christmas in Norway could be described. In this Scandinavian country, it is known as “Jul”. The celebrations for the most eagerly-anticipated tradition of the year last a few days longer than elsewhere. Christmas in Norway is a period rich in ritual and tradition, with the snow covering towns and cities and the darkness of the polar night. Such a magical Christmas is also celebrated on the Svalbard Islands, a fascinating land in the Arctic Ocean which lies mid-way between Norway and the North Pole. If you are holidaying there, get ready for a unique and thrilling experience.
Norwegian Christmas traditions
Christmas in Norway is characterised by lots of initiatives. In Drøbak, in the south of the country, the famous home of Father Christmas can be found, and is open all year round. Just like most of Europe, there are markets and themed events throughout the country, all celebrating Norwegian traditions. A must-see is the wooden city, Røros, characterised by a mythical atmosphere with its lights and decorations, as well as Hadeland Glassverk, on the outskirts of Oslo, known for its glass objects produced by local artisans. Don’t forget to pack suitable clothing for the period and the sub-zero temperatures, such as the technological Nobile N1 jacket by Svalbard Islands.
Norwegian Christmas specialities
If you are spending Christmas in Norway, it is a perfect opportunity to enjoy the traditional cuisine of the country in typical restaurants and venues. On Christmas day, and throughout the period, characteristic menus include “ribbe” (pork ribs), “pinnekjøtt” (lamb chops), and in some areas, cod cooked in the traditional manner. Norwegian Christmas specialities also include Norwegian biscuits such as “goro”, “krumkaker” or “berlinekrans”. The supermarkets, grocery shops and markets also sell delightful kits for making your own gingerbread house.
Sumptuous spreads and Christmas sheaves
Some of the most characteristic customs for Christmas in Norway include typical lights, decorations and settings. In the Christmas period, the “julenek”, or so-called “Christmas sheaf” is hung outside a lot of Norwegian homes. It is a sheaf of wheat or oats which is left out for the birds, in such a way as to symbolise the idealistic sharing of the joys of the most important holiday of the year with nature and the animal kingdom. Inside, there are tables laden with a wide range of delicacies and specialities, above all meat and fish based (salmon, herring, cod and sausage), all accompanied by large quantities of spirits or beer.