A Norwegian Christmas
Did you know that in Norway they never even heard about Christmas until 1000 or 1100? They celebrated the day that the harvest had gone because it gave them a way to look forward to spring. They would brew beer and then drink it in honor of the Pagan Scandinavians Gods. When Christianity became part of the area, they found out what Christmas was all about, and began celebrating Christmas. Since then, Christmas in Norway have been a big part of Norway.
At the beginning of every December, Norway dedicates a huge tree to give to the UK as a ‘thank you’ gift. They give this to the UK because during World War II, the UK sent people to help Norway. The big tree stands in Trafalgar Square in London. Today, millions of people worldwide come by to see the big tree of the UK. Another thing that they are most famous for is the Norwegian Christmas Tree decoration. They are small paper baskets called ‘Julekurver’ that were shaped into hearts. A writer, Christian Andersen, has been credited for making these in the 1860’s.
So, what is it like to celebrate Christmas in Norway? Well on Christmas Eve, people start exchanging gifts. Children have to open their presents, and if they get a Christmas card they have to read it out loud to everyone. The presents are given by two people, Santa Claus (Julenissen) and small gnomes (Nisse). Kids who are interested in caroling from door to door in the neighborhood can do so. They carry with them paper stars, if they wanted to. Also on Christmas Eve, families light a candle from Christmas Eve till New Year’s Day. Not every families do this, but most of them do.
Norwegians eat a variety of biscuits and cakes, but their main meal is pork, or mutton ribs, served white or red cabbage cooked with caraway seeds and vinegar. Their most delicious, and popular side dish, is a special bread called ‘Julekake’ which has raisins, candied peel, and cardamom. Also another famous dish is, of course, rice porridge. Rice porridge is eaten at Christmas Eve and they eat it either at lunchtime or as a meal. It is usually served with sugar, butter, or cinnamon. If you want to get fancy they sometimes serve it as a dessert, and serve it with whip cream. The tradition in food, is that if you find an almond in your meal you are given a pink or white marzipan pig.
Interesting facts about Norway is that it is the birthplace of Yule Log, which is a long, round chocolate cake that is served at Christmas. The ancient Norse used the Yule Log to celebrate the return of the sun at the winter solstice. The Norse believed that the sun was a great wheel of fire that ran towards and then rolled away from the Earth. This is the reason why the fireplace is famous for Christmas set up. The fire represents the sun during the winter solstice. Also the Yule Log is the reason why we have long cheese cakes, cakes, and desserts during holidays. Norway is probably the most interesting countries in the globe.