Norway’s Christmas Holiday Tradition
In Norway, the night of December 13 is used to be called Lussinatten. It is celebrated in honor of Saint Lucy. She is a young girl who according to legend died a martyr in Sicily. This celebration is part of the Norwegian celebration of Christmas holiday.
St. Lucia's Day is also celebrated in other countries like Sweden. Traditions of its celebration include processions led by a young Lucia in a white robe with a crown of lights on her head and a candle in her hand. Schools, day-care centers, nursing homes and hospitals feast on this day.
Among Norway’s other holidays, this is the longest night of the year and no work was to be done. This is because Norwegians believe that Lussi, a feared enchantress, punished anyone who dared work. From that night until Christmas, spirits, gnomes and trolls roamed the earth. Legend also says that farm animals talked to each other on Lussinatten. Thus, animals were given additional feed on this day.
This midwinter feast in Norway became a tradition. But the origin of this German tradition can be date back in the first half of the 1800s. Today the Christmas tree plays a central role in celebrating the Christmas holiday in Norway.
As such, trees, a spruce or a pine, is usually bought in town or chopped from one's own forest. Traditionally, Christmas trees must be fresh and green and fragrant, with a good shape and thick branches. There are also outdoor Christmas trees put up on squares, parks and other places where people walk are lit the first Sunday in Advent. However, the Norwegian tradition is not to lit the Christmas tree until Christmas Eve.
Aside from this, several kinds of lights are sold during this holiday in Norway. Christmas has become traditionally a festival of lights and candle-making. It was one crucial preparation of Christmas. During the long preparation, concerts are held in churches and concert halls and Christmas carols are sung up and down the country.
Furthermore, Norwegian Santa Claus "Julenisse" is famous for his red stocking cap and long white beard. The nisse wears knee breeches, hand-knitted stockings, a Norwegian sweater, a homespun jacket, and a heavy fur coat for Norway is very cold in the winter.
At 5 p.m. on the eve of Christmas, all the churches begin to ring in Christmas. Then the family gathers for a holiday meal after going to Church. A porridge meal with an almond hidden in someone's bowl is a popular menu. Rib roast with crackling is a very popular recipe used during this holiday.
Food traditions vary from one district to another. Coastal traditions are different from those found inland in the same way Eastern Norway’s traditions are different from those of Western Norway. Coastal districts and North Norway’s traditional Christmas dinner include lutefisk, cod or halibut. Eastern Norway’s are pork ribs, pork patties, Christmas sausage, and spiced cabbage.
Desserts range from cloudberry cream, crème caramel and creamed rice to fruit. Butter, sugar and cinnamon have to be put out for the nisse.
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