In Norway, Christmas is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor. 'Gledelig Jul' or 'God Jul' is the Norwegian way of wishing 'Merry Christmas'. A unique tradition in Norway relates to the Christmas tree that Norway gifts to England every Christmas. The tree is basically an annual present to the United Kingdom, to honor the help rendered by the British people to the natives, during the Second World War. The tree is made to stand in Trafalgar Square, in the middle of London. Hundreds of people, from around the city, come to watch the gifted Christmas tree, when the lights are turned on. Read on to know more about Christmas traditions and celebrations in Norway.
Christmas Celebrations In Norway
While there are many customs and traditions linked to Christmas in Norway, there is one long-standing and very popular tradition that includes a little gnome Nisse, who guards the farm animals. It is believed that he plays tricks on children, if they forget to serve him a bowl of special porridge. The gnome is known as Julebukk or 'Christmas buck,' and his looks are similar to those of a goat. Julebukk is associated with the Viking times, when the pagans worshipped Thor and his goat. The idea of Julebukk is very old and still, very dear to the Norwegians, especially around Christmas.
During the Viking period, a person used to dress in a goat skin and carry a goat head on the Christmas Day. He would join the party and die during the course of the evening, to return to life. In the early Christian era, the goat came to be associated with the devil and would appear in the party while merry making and celebrations were on. This game was forbidden by the church and the state by the end of the middle age. However, in the more recent times, the goat has reappeared in the tamer and less devious form of Julebukk.
Christmas tree decorations are a major part of festive celebrations in Norway. The celebrators either decorate a spruce or a pine tree, in the living area of their home. It is decorated with white lights, tinsel, Norwegian flags and other Christmas ornaments. Paper baskets of colored and flossy papers are made by the children. These baskets are filled with candies and nuts. Popular decorative items include chains made of colored papers. Colored lights are also gaining popularity, even as white lights continue to be used to resemble the candles traditionally lit on Christmas. The family dances, making a circle around the Christmas tree, before opening the presents.