What comes to your mind when you think of Christmas in Norway? The 'rutabaga' or 'Nisse', the Gnome? If this enthralls you, read on for more information on the customs, traditions and celebrations during Christmas.

Christmas In Norway

The Advent season in December gives us the taste of Christmas. The festival in Norway is pregnant with tradition, beliefs and is also, all about the delicious food. Like most European countries, Christmas Eve is given more importance than Christmas itself. Families and friends get together and celebrate the passing of the Advent and the birth of Jesus Christ on a grand scale. Presents are brought by 'Julenissen' or 'Nisse', the little, gnome-like character, accompanied by Santa Claus on several occasions. In most parts of Norway, the children are expected to sing carols outside the houses of dwellers across various cities. Another important tradition is to light a candle every night, from Christmas Eve, all the way till New Year's day. From delectable dishes to the famous Christmas tree erected at the city square gifted from the UK, Christmas in Norway is nothing short of jubilant. If you are heading to Norway for a holiday or you are just reading up for some information, scroll further for more material about the customs, traditions and celebrations during Christmas in this beautiful country.

Customs, Traditions And Celebrations

The Christmas Trees
In Norway, most people decorate a pine tree and leave it till New Year's in their living salon. These trees are usually decorated with Norwegian flags, white lights, tinsel and other dazzling ornaments. Trees are usually decorated by the children in this country, as it is believed to bring good luck for the following year. The children also make colorful paper baskets and fill it with candy and nuts. These are placed on the windowsills and all over the house for the 'Nisse'. Christmas trees became a popular Christmas element in Norway in 1900. The custom of having Christmas trees, in fact, originated from Germany. As a part of traditional customs, before opening the presents on Christmas morning, people would hold hands and dance around the Christmas trees and sing Norwegian carols. For prosperity the following the year, the family would make baskets of colorful paper (most often, red and green) and hang it on the Christmas trees.

Norwegian Christmas Dinner
A traditional Norwegian Christmas dinner is rich in content and is usually very diverse on the dinner table. Common dishes are 'Pinnekjot', made out of rib of lamb and seasoned with salt, sausages, 'rutabaga' and rice cream porridge. Many different types of cakes, biscuits and special bread called the 'Julekake', which contains raisins, is also consumed on the Eve of Christmas. On the day of Christmas, the main meal is normally chicken, pork, or mutton ribs served with vinegar and potatoes with a side of sprouts and brown sauce. For dessert, caramel pudding, cherry mouse and whipped cream with fresh fruits are served to cleanse the palate.

The 'Nisse' - The Norwegian Gift-Giver
The Norwegian 'Nisse' is unlike his western counterpart, the Santa Claus. It is believed that the name 'Nisse' is probably derived from 'Nisser'- old elves that existed much before the birth of Christ. The 'Nisse' is believed to scare bad children and dogs at night. It is believed that if dogs bark on the night of Christmas Eve, that means the 'Nisse' is about to visit the homes of people. This Christmas character also brings gifts to good children and delivers the presents himself, unlike Santa Claus, who climbs down the chimney in the dead of the night.

'Musevisa' - The Mouse Song
A very popular Christmas song called the 'Musevisa' is played during Christmas and is a traditional, Norwegian folk tune. The song narrates the story of a family of mice, getting ready to welcome Christmas. The mother mouse and the father mouse warn their baby mice to stay away from mouse traps during Christmas. The song became an instant hit with children all around Norway and is customarily played in all households every year. This melody released in both, English and Norwegian versions. It was written in 1946 by Alf Proyson. Here are the first three verses of the song.

When nights are getting longer and lakes will freeze to ice;
Father Mouse warns strongly about a foul device:
"If we avoid the mouse trap, we will have naught to fear.
We'll all be celebrating, at Christmas time this year."
Heyday and howdy and toodeladdeloo.
A Merry Christmas season is good for me and you. (x2)

Mother Mouse is cleaning, each ceiling and each wall.
She wants a home that's cozy, when Yuletide snowflakes will fall.
A grubby home at Christmas would be a great disgrace.
So young ones dance a Polka, their tails sweep out the place.
Heyday and howdy and toodeladdeloo.
A Merry Christmas season is good for me and you. (x2)

And finally the evening, the youngsters all await.
They know they'll have permission to stay up very late.
A toe-less boot is spruced up with nails that they have found.
And then some flimsy cobwebs which they can drape around.
Heyday and howdy and toodeladdeloo.
A Merry Christmas season is good for me and you. (x2)

If you ever visit Norway during Christmas, try getting the full lyrics for the song and hum along, tuning yourself to Norwegian customs! Christmas in Norway is a fun and a relaxed affair. Apart from attending church and waiting for the 'Nisse' to leave presents at night, celebrating the holiday season in this country will leave you stoked. 'God Jul'! (Merry Christmas).