Norwegian Christmas traditions
Christmas in Norway is based on Christian traditions, with elements of old pagan traditions and Jewish Hannukah
In Norway, before Christmas houses are decorated with wreaths, angels, gnomes, hearts, stars. Sometimes a nativity scene or a gingerbread house can be found. Most families have a Christmas tree in the living room. It has a star at the top and is decorated with garlands, tinsel and ornaments. With the influence of the United States more and more people also decorate their houses on the outside with lights and wreaths.
During Advent it is common for companies, organisations and groups of friends to meet up for julebord or pre-Christmas parties.
Little Christmas Eve
Many families have their own traditions for the evening of 23rd December. Popular traditions are decorating the Christmas tree or making a gingerbread house. Many families eat risengrynsgrøt. This is a hot rice pudding served with sugar, cinnamon and butter. An almond is hidden in the pudding and the person who discovers the almond in their portion wins a marzipan pig.
The risengrynsgrøt (hot rice pudding) is an old, traditional dish. In Norwegian folklore this is what the barn gnome eats. In the countryside, many people put a bowl outside for the barn gnome. If there is pudding left, it is made into riskrem. A cold rice pudding mixed with whipped cream, a common Christmas dessert served with a red sauce.
The Christmas presents which have been placed under the tree are opened after dinner.
Enormous amounts of marzipan are sold before Christmas. According to the marzipan manufacturer Nidar Norway’s population of less than 5 million people manage to eat more than 40 million marzipan figures during the Christmas period.