christmas traditions in norway 2

Last-minute Christmas shopping in Oslo.

So are you wondering what the norwegians did last christmas? Well they did not give you their heart…they were busy:

A Norwegian Christmas is a lot more than gingerbread, gløgg and tasteful decor.
Dressing up as a goat-like devil when you go out ‘julebukking’, and leaving porridge for your ill-tempered house spirit, Norway has certainly kept more pagan Jul traditions than the UK or US.

Here are some of the country’s weirder traditions, and a warning: do not make fun of their crust on top of their pork ribs:

Marzipan pigs:

cristmas in norway_marsipangris

There’s something gloriously random about the prize traditionally given to whoever finds the almond Norwegian parents drop in the special Christmas porridge. And speaking of random, feast your eyes on this.

Watching ancient Disney cartoons.

It’s only in the Nordic countries that anyone knows who Ferdinand the Bull is. But that’s because everyone has watched the exact same ten cartoons every Christmas Eve since 1953. Disney’s ‘Donald Duck og vennene hans’, or ‘Donald Duck and his Friends’, goes out this Christmas on NRK at 3pm, as it has done every year for as long as anyone remembers. To those who aren’t in on the joke, this is very odd indeed.


christmas in norway

Norwegians drive en masse to huge shopping centres on the Swedish border where they stock up on vast quantities of cheap(er) booze (and during occasional shortages, butter too).Photo:


Trick-or-treating at Christmas:

julebukk in norway


There’s little difference between what Norwegians do when they “går julebukk”, and what the rest of the world does at Halloween. Children travel in costume from house to house, singing in exchange for sweets. If adults go too, they are ideally so well disguised as to be unrecognisable. They then drink a glass of akvavit at every house, ideally until they are incomprehensible. Photo:


Eating ribs instead of roasts:

pigs rib from norway


Whether they’re pork (julribbe) or lamb (pinnekjøtt), when Norwegians sit down for their Christmas meal, its ribs for the main course. Not a turkey in sight. And they are craaazy about the crust on top of the rib, which HAS TO be crispy.

Dancing around the Christmas tree:

christmas tree dancing


Foreigners who marry into Norwegian families can be disconcerted when asked to join hands and dance around the tree. The strangeness is only increased when accompanied by songs from God Jul, the 1967 album by Norwegian show band Dizzie Tunes.

Watching “tre nøtter til Askepott”:

tre nøtter til askepott norway

Norwegians would feel their Christmas was incomplete without watching Tre Nøtter til Askepott, or Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella, an East German-Czechoslovak adventure film from the early 1970s. If anything this is even weirder than the cartoons.