Image Map

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Around the World: Norway

Links provided may be from affiliate programs which help support this blog. Thanks for clicking!

"God Jul!"

Norway is the birthplace of the Yule log. The ancient Norse used the Yule log in their celebration of the return of the sun at winter solstice. "Yule" came from the Norse word hweol, meaning wheel. The Norse believed that the sun was a great wheel of fire that rolled towards and then away from the earth. Ever wonder why the family fireplace is such a central part of the typical Christmas scene? This tradition dates back to the Norse Yule log. It is probably also responsible for the popularity of log-shaped cheese, cakes, and desserts during the holidays.

Traditional Christmas customs include Nisse, a gnome or an elf guarding animals. It is said in Norway that Nisse can have goat-like features. Children get bowls of a certain type of porridge ready for him - if they don't, he will play tricks on them.  The idea is a very old one and was most likely known by the Vikings. In earlier times during Christmas in Norway, one person dressed in goatskin (carrying a goat's head!) would come to the Christmas celebration unannounced and act as if they were dying shortly afterwards.  It did not take long for Christians in Norway (and the rest of Scandinavia) to associate the goat with the devil. They then used it only during celebrations and were later forbidden these customs by the church and government. A much tamed-down form of the tradition remains to this day.

At 4:00 p.m. all work comes to a halt on Christmas Eve in Norway. Everyone bathes and puts on new clothes to greet the season. The largest sheaf of grain is hung out for the birds to make their Christmas merry, too. Christmas dinner begins with rice pudding with a lucky almond hidden in it for someone, and a bowl is also set out for the barn elf so that he will continue to watch over the animals and not turn mischievous. A Christmas pig provides most of the meat dishes. Traditionally the Norwegians kept the season bright with a Yule log. It literally formed the center of the celebration since it was frequently an entire tree that could only partly fit into the fireplace and so extended well out into the middle of the living room. As it burned it would be pushed farther into the fire to provide continuous light and warmth through the whole Christmas season.

The Christmas tree is taking the place of the Yule log today. The popularity of Santa Claus has resurrected an ancient Norse figure called Julesvenn. In ancient times he would come during the feast of Jul to hide lucky barley stalks around the house. Now he comes on Christmas Eve to bring gifts to good children. After Christmas Day is past, children indulge in a custom much like trick or treat. It is called Julebukk and children wear costumes and go door to door asking for goodies.

Please support this site by using the links provided.
Don't miss the freebies, coupons, and discounts! Subscribe Now! Check us out on Facebook to find more deals and extra giveaways!

No comments:


Blog Design By Lucky Girl Design Studio © All Rights Reserved. | Copyright © My City Mommy LLC 2009 All Rights Reserved