Meet the Norwegian Santa!
Who let the sheep out?
Who groomed the horse?
It must have been Fjøsnissen, the authentic Norwegian "Santa"!
Beware, he is no ordinary Santa ...
Easily offended if you are disrespectful, but warm and hardworking if you treat him right! That's Fjøsnissen, a mischievous mythical Norwegian creature who lives in the barn. He's quite shy, but we'll try to get to know him a bit better below!
"I like pranks. They're so much fun! I also like taking care of the animals on the farm."
You might spot a small elf-like creature running across the farmyard on the Norwegian countryside around Christmas time. Although Santa Claus has long since established himself in Norway (he even has a post office here), we also have Fjøsnissen, a small Santa-like creature who lives in the barn.
Fjøs means barn and nisse means Santa.
In contrast to Santa Claus, Fjøsnissen is very shy, but you may find him if you are on the lookout! He is likely to appear at the open-air Norwegian Museum of Cultural History at Bygdøy in Oslo.
"I thrive in old wooden houses, and there's a lot of them here at the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History," says Fjøsnissen as he works on making a hobby horse as a Christmas gift.
When asked, he said he has not met any naughty children this year.
The animals' best friend
Another reason why you'll find him in the barn is because he likes animals more than he likes people – and that's why he's often portrayed with the farm cat or a horse.
He is in fact very small – no bigger than a cat himself!
"I like to take care of the animals and making sure they are happy," says Fjøsnissen.
At night, he calms the horses if they are scared, and can be a great asset to the farm!
But he becomes harder to deal with if you neglect to feed him ...
Fjøsnissen's favourite dish
It's a Norwegian tradition to bring a bowl of Nissegrøt, rice porridge, out to the barn for Fjøsnissen on Christmas Eve.
Once fed, he will gladly take care of the farm and the livestock in return. If not – he’ll be very offended, and may get up to mischief! Such as leaving the barn door wide open.
"I like all types of food, but Christmas porridge with a big pat of butter is a real feast!" He says while reaching for the bowl that young Ella set out earlier.
Ella was very careful not to let Fjøsnissen see her! She knows that if he discovers her he will disappear and might not reveal himself for days!
The shy, sensitive and down-to-earth creature no doubt depicts the Norwegian spirit better than the outgoing Santa Claus. See if you can meet him yourself!
Fjøsnissen goes Hollywood!
The 2023-movie “There's Something in the barn” is a Norwegian horror-comedy about the Norwegian Santa sold to Hollywood. The movie was filmed in Gudbrandsdalen starring both American and Norwegian actors. The story is about an American family who inherent a cabin in Norway, but they make so many changes there, that the Fjøsnisse living on the barn gets outrageous and irreconcilable. The strange Fjøsnisse becomes world known as a funny, but most of all scary fellar!
Fjøsnissen's Christmas porridge
Discover the traditional recipe for his favourite dish.
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