Saturday, December 12, 2009

Norwegian Christmas

Recall that I forewarned you, Faithful Reader, that you would not find tales or photos here of Scandinavian Saturday this week because Susan and I are off to a friend's house for a holiday party, where we will eat a supper that is very likely to be anything but Scandinavian. But I understand your woe over not experiencing your weekly dose of Nordic news for several weeks now, and I will not neglect your needs. I will simply meet them by directing you elsewhere. (It's called "outsourcing," people. It happens.)

In August I wrote a catablogue entry about a blog written by an Australian woman who married a Norwegian man and moved with him and their children back to Norway. She writes about the country, its culture, its language, its traditions, etc., from her perspective as an immigrant, and I find it always interesting--a great way to learn about Norway because she doesn't take anything for granted as someone might who has grown up there, so she shares details that I find fascinating but that a native Norwegian might find too mundane even to mention.

Recently her focus has turned to matters related to Christmas, and I thought you, too, might enjoy learning more about Norwegian Noël--so here are some highlights:
  • the entire Christmas season, with notable dates from November through January and how Norwegians celebrate each major step along the way

  • Christmas caroling, complete with audio clips of her family's singing traditional Norwegian Christmas songs a capella and from memory

  • Christmas meals, including photos and descriptions of traditional foods (including Christmas rib roast and pinnekjøtt) and the interesting explanation that Christmas dinners and suppers happen pretty much throughout December, not only on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day

  • the Christmas elf (julenisse) and the Christmas goat (julebukk), how they became traditions, and how they're carried out today

  • Christmas baking: her mother-in-law's famous pepperkaker cookies, which are so pretty that neighbors to whom she gives them as gifts are more likely to hang them on the wall than to eat them!

P.S. My parents used to tell stories about the tradition of julebukking in which they themselves participated as children and young adults in northwestern ND. They and other julebukkers would put on disguises and go door to door singing Christmas carols, after which the homeowners were supposed to guess their identities. If they couldn't, they owed the julebukkers drinks and Christmas baking! Then the homeowners would put on disguises themselves and join the group for its trip to the next house, and the steps were repeated all night long. Compare that to the blogger's information (above) about how julebukking happens in Norway today.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds fun! We could do this in Tioga! However, I'm afraid we would never get anyone to join us and continue on. ho hum