The Norwegians are big on Christmas (Juletid) with celebrations starting on Christmas Eve at 4pm and lasting until 13 January. Here are some highlights:
- Santa Claus (Julenissen) delivers presents to children on Christmas Eve helped by a troupe of small gnomes (Nisse). Decorations are hung, the Christmas tree is lit and rice porridge served with butter, sugar and cinnamon is enjoyed.
- The Julebukk (Yule goat) is a leftover symbol from pagan traditions – some people wearing goat masks and costumes (Julebukkers) still go from door to door singing songs.
- Each city puts up a huge Christmas tree, usually on the first Sunday of Advent when local people hold hands and dance around it in celebration.
- On the 13 December schools celebrate St Lucia Day, when a pupil, wearing a crown of candles, represents St Lucia and leads a procession of children, handing out Lussekatter (edible treats; see our own cake tribute, saffron bundt cake).
Turn to page 96 of December’s The Simple Things for a Norwegian family enjoying the snuggest of Christmases in their alpine timber lodge - think crackling fires, twinkling lights and lots of tasty treats to savour.