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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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Photo: MatPrat

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Photo: MatPrat

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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.

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.

Popular Christmas markets

16 November– 30 December
(Closed 24 and 25 December)

Winter Wonderland in Spikersuppa, Oslo

7–8 December
The designers’ own Christmas market at DOGA, Oslo

30 November–1 December
Maihaugen’s Christmas market, Lillehammer

30 November–1 December and 7–8 December
Norsk Folkemuseum’s annual Christmas fair, Oslo

5–8 December
Christmas market in Røros

28 November–22 December
Bergen Christmas market

6–21 December
Christmas market in Trondheim

28 November–8 December
Christmas market Haugesund

1 November–22 December
Pre-Christmas fun in Henningsvær, Lofoten

5–15 December
Christmas market in Egersund

Christmas the Norwegian way

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Read up on everything Norwegians do and eat before and during the holiday season.

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