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Christmas Celebrations in Norway

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Like in other European countries, the big day for festivities is December 24th even though it is legally a working day till 1600 hours. However, most stores close early. Norwegian children always remember a little gnome Nisse at Christmastime. It is said that he plays guard to all the farm animals and if the children forget to place the bowl of special porridge out for him, he plays tricks on them.

Christmas Feast in Norway
The main Christmas meal is served in the evening. Families and friends usually dine together while others still prefer to go to restaurants. Common main dishes include pork rib, pinnekjřtt (pieces of lamb rib steamed over birch branches), and in some western areas burned sheep's head. Many people also eat lutefisk or fresh, poached cod. Rice porridge is also popular but most commonly served the day after rather than for the main Christmas dinner, an almond is often hidden in the porridge, and the person who finds it wins a treat or small gift. In many families, where the parents grew up with different traditions, two different main dishes are served to please everyone.

Christmas traditions in Norway
On Christmas eve, it is customary to visit the graves of the dearly departed family members and friends and place a candle at their gravesite as a symbol of remembrance. After that for a lot of Norwegians, especially families, television is an important part of the earlier hours of Christmas Eve after the visit to the graves. Many Norwegians do not feel the Christmas spirit until they have watched the Czech fairy tale Tri oríšky pro Popelku and the Disney Christmas cavalcade. After that Julenissen (Santa Claus) pays a visit if there are children present, otherwise gifts are stored under the Christmas tree and then distributed by the youngest present. Even those who are no regular churchgoers, generally attend Church on this day.

Culmination of festivities in Norway
The festivities really kick off on December 26 th so December 25 th is a rather quiet day spent with the family . Cinemas, nightclubs and bars are full, and there are lots of private gatherings and parties, where all kinds of traditional Christmas cookies and sweets are enjoyed.

The time between Boxing Day and New Year's Eve is called romjul. During this time children in the western parts of Norway dress up with masks and go Julebukk - Christmas bucks - asking for treats, much the same way as in the American Halloween. Christmas in Norway comes to an official end on St. Knuts day, January 13 th .

There are many other customs and traditions followed by the Norwegians depending on which part of the country they are from. Many youngsters are also influenced by American television and have adopted many of their customs into their Christmas celebration like Santa Claus . In larger cities, it is common to see decorations like the Christmas tree and Christmas lights .


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