How Norway Celebrates Two Christmas Eve

Norwegian Christmas Tradition
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As the world’s festive seasons come to life, one of the most unique countries celebrating Christmas is Norway.  Oslo is home to two special Christmas Eve customs that reach beyond its Nordic heritage.  These are a people who cherish the nativity of both Christians and Jews.

The first thing one will notice about Norway is the early Christmas decorations that light the streets and homes from as early as mid-November.  The city center comes to life with people shopping for gifts, decorations, trees, and festive tidbits. Homes are decked with lights and families gather with friends to share the bliss of the nightlife.

Norwegian Christmas Traditions

Norwegian Christmas Tradition

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Norwegian Christmas traditions is Christmas Eve. Unlike most countries, Oslo doubles down on Navidad, here the unique Christmas spirit boasts two Xmas eves.

”Little Christmas Eve”, December 23:  While it is a nationally celebrated evening, there are different agendas based on each family.  Families unite on this evening for different activities ranging from decorating the Christmas tree, making a gingerbread house, or eating risengrynsgrøt. 

Sharing the risengrynsgrøt is one of the best ways to spend the evening with your family.  A dinner of a hot rice pudding is served with soft sugar, cinnamon, and butter. The treat is to find an almond that is hidden in the pudding and win a marzipan pig.

Christmas Eve, December 24: This day is the heart of the Norwegian Christmas celebrations. Most people get busy finishing decorations, shopping for the last gifts, or completing event arrangements. Some families will attend a church service, some may attend an evening concert, but most get together for a family dinner.

Notably, the tradition of placing gifts under the tree is still alive in Oslo, and by the second Christmas Eve, all are laid in place. As this is more often a family evening, bars and restaurants are closed and the streets are usually empty. Gifts are finally given, opened, and celebrated in the spirit of Christmas.

Although Norway puts so much more into the festive seasons than most other countries do, not everyone in Oslo celebrates Christmas. However, most do, embracing two Christmas Eve each year.





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