Christmas Day in Norway in 2024

Christmas Day in Norway in 2024
Image via National Library of Norway
  How long until Christmas Day?
Christmas Day
  Dates of Christmas Day in Norway
2025 Norway Thu, Dec 25 National Holiday
2024 Norway Wed, Dec 25 National Holiday
2023 Norway Mon, Dec 25 National Holiday
2022 Norway Sun, Dec 25 National Holiday
2021 Norway Sat, Dec 25 National Holiday

Christmas celebrates the Nativity of Jesus which according to tradition took place on 25 December 1 BC

  Local name
Første juledag
Related holidays

The Christmas Holidays in Norway

En riktig god jul! In Norway, Julaften (Christmas Eve) is the most important day of the holidays. (Christmas Eve). This is followed by public holidays on Juledag (Christmas Day) and 2. juledag (Second day of Christmas Day). The days after Christmas and before New Year's Day are a semi-official holiday period called romjul. This is a traditional time for visiting friends and family or going to mountain cabins or short holidays abroad.

Etymologically, romjul comes from Old Norse jól (Christmas) + rúmheilagr ("that needs not adhere strictly to legal proscriptions for a holiday").

History of the holiday

Whilst the holiday has a strong grounding in the story of the birth of Jesus, many of the traditions we associate with Christmas have evolved from pre-Christian beliefs and certainly, the traditions have evolved beyond purely a Christian holiday to have a wider secular significance.

The celebration of Christmas in late December is certainly as a result of pre-existing celebrations happening at that time, marking the Winter Solstice.

Most notable of these is Yule (meaning 'Feast'), a winter pagan festival that was originally celebrated by Germanic people. The exact date of Yule depends on the lunar cycle but it falls from late December to early January. In some Northern Europe countries, the local word for Christmas has a closer linguistic tie to 'Yule' than 'Christmas', and it is still a term that may be used for Christmas in some English-speaking countries.

Several Yule traditions are familiar to the modern celebration of Christmas, such as Yule Log, the custom of burning a large wooden log on the fire at Christmas; or indeed carol singing, which is surprisingly a very ancient tradition.

Christmas Traditions in Norway

The run-up to Christmas is a special time in Norway. Candles light up homes during the cold, dark winter months.

Most Norwegian towns and cities have Christmas fairs and markets, seasonal concerts and performances at this time. Oslo's largest Christmas market is the one at the Folk Museum on Bygdøy. Bergen, meanwhile, is famous for its Gingerbread Town, which is erected on Torgallmenningen every year.

The mining town of Røros in eastern Norway is a truly magic place to visit in December, and Tregaarden's Christmas House in Drøbak is a must-see as Scandinavia's only permanent Christmas shop.

Typical Norwegian Christmas food includes ribbe (roasted pork belly), pinnekjøtt (salted and dried, sometimes smoked, lamb ribs) and lutefisk (stock fish softened in water and lye before cooking).

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