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The taste of Christmas

Typical Norwegian holiday food
Christmas traditions in Norway are as contrasting as the country itself. Here are some of the tastiest Norwegian holiday rituals.
Traditional Norwegian Christmas pork rib with trimmings
Traditional Norwegian Christmas dinner with pork rib.
Photo: MatPrat
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Pinnekjøtt

Pinnekjøtt.
Photo: MatPrat
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Lutefisk

Lutefisk.
Photo: MatPrat
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Gløgg

Gløgg.
Photo: Matprat / Mari Svenningsen

The Norwegians’ also have their own take on mulled wine. “Gløgg” is usually made up of hot red wine and/or aquavit, sugar, and spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, and bitter orange. The drink is served with almonds and raisins. Children get a non-alcoholic version made with fruit juice instead of wine.

The hungry elf in the barn

The chubby, generous and kind Santa Claus has become a central part of the modern Norwegian Christmas celebration. “Fjøsnissen” (the barn elf) is a more mischievous and slightly sinister character that was important when Norway was still a farming community.

Fjøsnisse

Fjøsnisse.
Photo: Julius Holck / National Library of Norway

You’d be well advised to stay friends with this short, bearded guy. If treated well, he would help make sure that the farm prospered. If unhappy with the swing of things, however, he could exercise the most brutal forms of revenge, such as striking the dairy cattle dead.

This is why farmers used to bring rice porridge and home-brewed beer to the barn every Christmas, a tradition that continues on Norwegian farms to this day.

Christmas markets 2018

17 November–23 December
Winter Wonderland in Spikersuppa, Oslo

1–2 December
The designers’ own Christmas market at DOGA, Oslo

1–2 December
Maihaugen’s Christmas market, Lillehammer

1–2 and 8–9 December
Norsk Folkemuseum’s annual Christmas fair, Oslo

6–9 December
Christmas market in Røros

29 November–22 December
Bergen Christmas market

7–19 December
Christmas market in Trondheim

29 November–2 December,
8–9 December, and 15–16 December

Christmas market Haugesund

20 November–23 December
Pre-Christmas fun in Henningsvær, Lofoten

6–16 December
Christmas in Tromsø, Tromsø

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