Christmas Celebration in Norway

How is Celebrate Christmas in Norway

Christmas in Norway is a magical and festive time of year, celebrated with a combination of rich traditions, religious observance, and outdoor activities. Here's how Christmas is typically celebrated in Norway:


The Christmas season in Norway begins with Advent, a time of preparation and anticipation. Many Norwegian households have Advent calendars and light Advent candles.

Advent Wreaths

Families often have an Advent wreath with four candles, and one candle is lit each Sunday in December leading up to Christmas.

Lighting of the Christmas Tree

In many towns and cities across Norway, the official start of the Christmas season is marked by the lighting of a large Christmas tree in the central square.

Christmas Decorations

Homes, streets, and towns are adorned with festive lights, ornaments, and Christmas trees. The Christmas tree is often adorned with traditional Norwegian ornaments and flags.


The Julenisse is a mythological creature similar to Santa Claus who is believed to bring gifts to children on Christmas Eve. The character is often depicted as a gnome-like figure.

Sankta Lucia Day

On December 13th, Sankta Lucia Day is celebrated in some parts of Norway, particularly among the Swedish-speaking minority. A young girl is chosen to portray Sankta Lucia, wearing a crown of candles and leading a procession.

Church Services

Christmas has a strong religious significance in Norway, and many people attend church services, including the Midnight Mass (Midnattsmesse), on Christmas Eve.


Julebord, or Christmas buffets, are common during the holiday season. These feasts feature a wide array of traditional dishes, including pickled herring, lutefisk (dried fish rehydrated in a lye solution), meatballs, sausages, and more.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is the main day of celebration in Norway. Families come together for a festive meal, and it is customary to serve dishes like ribbe (roast pork), pinnekj√łtt (salted and dried lamb or mutton ribs), or lutefisk, depending on regional traditions.


Exchanging gifts is an essential part of Christmas, and the presents are usually opened on Christmas Eve. Children may receive gifts from both Julenisse and family members.

Christmas Caroling

Caroling is a beloved tradition, with children and adults singing traditional Norwegian Christmas carols, known as "julesanger," while visiting neighbors and friends.

Norwegian Sweets

Traditional Norwegian Christmas sweets and cookies, like krumkake (waffle cookies) and pepperkaker (ginger cookies), are enjoyed during the holiday season.

Cross-Country Skiing

Depending on the weather and location, many Norwegians enjoy outdoor activities like cross-country skiing and ice skating during the holiday season.

New Year's Celebrations

The holiday season extends into New Year's Eve, with fireworks, parties, and celebrations to welcome the new year.

Christmas in Norway is marked by a strong sense of tradition, togetherness, and a focus on the outdoors and nature. The holiday season's combination of religious customs, festive decorations, and delicious Norwegian cuisine creates a warm and joyful atmosphere, making it a special time for both Norwegians and visitors to the country.

In Norway, Christmas is known as "Jul" and celebrated annually on December 25, like in many other places.

The Norwegian Christmas celebrations begin with the Saint Lucia ceremony on December 13. At daybreak, the youngest daughter from each family puts on a white robe with a sash, a crown with evergreens and tall-lighted candles. The boys dress up as star boys in long white shirts and pointed hats. Then the youngest daughter and the other children wake their parents, and serve them coffee and Lucia buns, lussekatter. This is said to commence the Christmas festivities in the country.

In the days counting to Christmas Day, individual homes are decorated beautifully by their inhabitants.

Christmas trees - generally juletre, spruce or pine tree - are set up in each house and traditionally embellished with candles or white lights, Norwegian flags, apples, red harts, cornets, straw ornaments, balls of glass, tinsels and even colourful paper baskets made by the children in the family. The indoors are decked up with lovely flowers such as hyacinths and red tulips.

For most Norwegians, the main celebration of Christmas is on 24 December (Christmas Eve). Traditionally, this is a day to be spent in the company of family members. During noon, "lillejulaften" (rice porridge) is usually served. An almond is often hidden in the porridge, and the person who finds it wins a treat or small gift– usually a marzipan pig. In some regions of the country, the porridge dish is usually placed outside (in a barn, outhouse or even in the forest) to please "Julenissen"("Santa Claus" - as called in Norway). In the afternoon, church bells ring to beckon people to the church services. Many people attend these religious services. At five p.m., church bells toll to announce the beginning of Christmas. In some families, there is a custom of reading a Christmas story from Luke 2 from an old family Bible. The main Christmas meal is served in the evening. The main dishes commonly include pork rib, "pinnekjott" (pieces of lamb rib steamed over birch branches). In some western areas, a burned sheep's head form the main dish. Many people also eat "lutefisk" or fresh, poached cod. Traditional drinks are beer and aquavit for adults and "julebrus" (a sweet red fizzy drink made specially during Christmastime) for children. A favourite Christmas dessert is rice blended with whipped cream served with a red sauce.

On Christmas Day, most families have a big brunch at noon or dinner in the afternoon. People invite their friends and loved ones to have meal with them. Cakes and cookies are relished together and everyone is wished God Jul!(Merry Christmas). Different nuts, fruits, figs, dates and sweets also belong to the celebration.

For children, Christmas is a time for gifts and goodies from "Julenissen" (Santa Claus), who is said to reward all good kids for their nice actions and behaviour all through the year. But presents are not to be expected only during this time as in "Romjulen", the days between Christmas and New Years Eve, Norwegian children often go from house to house in the afternoon asking for sweets. This tradition is known as "Julebukk" or "Christmas buck" and was very popular in the Viking era when pagans worshipped Thor and his goat. By the end of the Middle Ages, the custom was forbidden by the Church and the state. Though the tradition has made a comeback in recent decades, just a few children keep up the tradition today.

Christmas in Norway

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