Thursday, December 21, 2017

Christmas in Norway

christmas in norway

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Christmas Eve is the day that gifts are exchanged in Norway.  "Santa Claus", called (Julenissen in Norway) brings them.  Gifts are bought by the small gnomes called 'nisse'.  There are also hobgoblins (nisse) decorations.  Children pick up the gifts from under the Christmas tree and read the on the gifts out loud.  During Advent/December in Norway, small gifts are given each day in December leading up to Christmas day. 

In some parts of Norway, children like to go caroling.  Often children will dress up as characters from the Christmas Story, such as the Shepherds and the Wise Men, and go singing from house to house in their local neighborhood.  Sometimes they carry with paper stars on them.  Another tradition in parts of Norway is that families light a candle from Christmas Eve to New Year's Day. 

Christmas wasn't celebrated in Norway until around 1000 or 1100, when Christianity first came to the area.  Before this people celebrated jul or jol in the middle of winter.  It was a celebration of the harvest gone and a way of looking forward to Spring.  Lots of beer was brewed and drunk in honor of the old pagan Scandinavian gods.  Probably the most famous custom of Christmas in Norway is when Norway give the UK the big Christmas tree every year.  The tree is given as a gift 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 thousands of people come to watch when the lights are turned on.  To learn more about the traditions of Christmas in Norway, click on the above link. 

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