God Jul! - 24 bits of Norwegian Christmas

Yngvil Yngvil Vatn Guttu
God Jul!  - 24 bits of Norwegian Christmas -

God Jul! - 24 bits of Norwegian Christmas

The biggest holiday of the year is just around the corner. Norskbloggen brings you 24 bits of Norwegian Christmas tradition. Make sure to add the words to your vocabulary! Join us in the celebrations!  

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


The Norwegian word for Christmas. Before Christianity Norwegians celebrated Jól at the coldest full moon of the year. Yule or Yuletide is still used in English.  


A 24-day “calendar” — often home made — starting 1. December. A little present (often chocolate!) is hidden behind each date in the calendar.  


During the 4 weeks before Christmas, Norwegians show a surprising austerity with candles, 1 candle the first Sunday, 2 candles the second, 3 on the third and then finally all 4.  


The office Christmas party. Where you may see surprisingly bad behavior by colleagues who seemed completely normal, even shy for the rest of the year...  


Part of the reason for the surprisingly bad behavior. Norwegians can choose between over 230 kinds of beer brewed specially for the season.  


We send Christmas cards to family and friends, with the highlights of the years that past, the news about family members and so on. Or we just post it on facebook.  


On average, we spend about 5-6 000 kroner on Christmas gifts this year. The presents are put under the Juletre, brought by Julenissen or shipped to relatives far away with Juleposten.  


You can’t send a present via email, so around this time Posten (the Norwegian mail service) ships hundreds of thousands of julepakker and julekort across the country.  


In the old days people could cut a Christmas tree in their own forest, nowadays we get them from the man outside Seven-Eleven, or you can order a “Fake tree” online.  


In the middle of November Norwegian zine fans run to the newsstand to get their annual fix of Christmas cartoons: 91 Stomperud, Knoll og Tott, Vangsgutane and many more...  

Lille Julaften

“Little Christmas Eve” is December 23rd. People prepare for the big day tomorrow. Many start the party early. But almost everybody stopwhat they’re doing at 21.00 to watch “Hovmesteren”.  

Grevinnen og Hovmesteren

An 11 minute TV sketch from the 1960s about the butler who impersonates and drinks as all the guests at his Countesses 90th birthday party. “Same procedure as last year” — Don’t miss it!  


Throughout the year, many churches are now struggling to fill the pews, but on Christmas Eve many have schedule 2 or 3 services on the day day to accommodate the multitudes who want to hear the Juleevangeliet read out loud.  


We sing christmas songs in church and at home, joining hands and walking/dancing/jumping around the Christmas tree. Our Top 3 Picks:

På låven sitter nissen


Å Jul, med din Glede


Deilig er Jorden



For reasons unknown, our finest pop stars feel compelled to issue “New Age” versions of famous Christmas hymns late in October, and you can hear them (cannot avoid them) when you go shopping.  


Burning candles is a winter tradition which reaches its peak at Christmas. Some folks even burn real candles on their Christmas trees, but electric candles are strongly recommended!  

House Fires

The Fire departments in Norway respond to 50% more fires during Christmas than the rest of the year. Candles and cooking fat are the two biggest reasons. Be careful with both!  


The most important person of Christmas. There are two kinds of “nisse” in Norway; the little guys who eat the porridge in the barn, and the big guy who brings the presents to all children.  

Å bære ut julen

To carry out Christmas, means to visit someone during the holidays and leave without having anything to eat. Don’t do it, it’s bad luck and you might starve later!!!  


Ribbe — Pork ribs Sylte — Pickled Pork Svinestek — Pork roast Smalahove — Sheeps head Pinnekjøtt — Birch smoked sheep rib Lutefisk — Lutefisk Rakørret — Fermented trout Julegrøt — Christmas porridge Julekake — Christmas cake 7 sorter — 7 kinds of cookies  


Using gingerbread dough as construction material, Norwegians experiment with all kinds of architecture and then eventually eat the whole building... This 4-year old is an expert...  


As you know Norwegians love not to go to work. During the week between Christmas and New Year — romjulen — school’s out and so most Norwegian grownups also take the week off.  


Don’t be surprised if your door bell rings during romjulen, and you find some strangely dressed children at your door asking for cookies. “Å gå julebukk” is an old Halloween-like tradition.  


The Christmas Star goes on top of the Christmas tree, is also the name of the flower Poinsettia which you will find everywhere, and — we look for it through the window up in the dark winter sky...   Have you tried Norwegian Christmas food yet? Got a Lutefisk story? Are you/your family going to be observing/celebrating Christmas at all?   - Share your story in the comment window below!   Lingu ønsker deg en Riktig God Jul!