CHRISTMAS IN NORWAY

Christmas light decorations in Oslo City

Christmas light decorations in Oslo City

Many people celebrate Christmas in different ways in Kenya. Because 84.8% of the total population are christians many of the celebrations have a religious undertone in them. We have learnt quite a lot about Christmas traditions in Norway this past month. This is a time that people look forward to the whole year.

I love the ambiance and mood during this time. The smell of freshly cut spruce or pine is refreshing. Some people opt for artificial trees which serve the same purpose and at least they can be used again. The most fascinating thing is always putting up Christmas decorations. The decorations both inside and outside the houses makes them look appealing. The star lights on the windows intrigue me the most.

Christmas lightings are just the best thing in Norway during this period. In the residential areas, trees and bushes are decorated with lights of different colors. The streets are a sight to see, lit in all sort of manner. The snow adds to the ambience and the outcome is something so magical, something of rare beauty.

Christmas market in Ennebak

Christmas market in Ennebak

Enebakk Red Cross branch had a stand during the Christmas market. We were so humbled to be part of the volunteers who talked to passersby about Red Cross in a bid to create awareness and recruit more volunteers. We tried pinnebrød (twisted bread around a stick). During our free time, we also went to the Christmas market in Oslo. There was quite a lot of unique things to see and buy. Giving Christmas gifts is a tradition that is followed very closely in Norway. There is the julekalendar - Christmas calendar also called the advent calendar.

There is a variety of food and drinks to try out during Christmas if you haven’t before. risengrynsgrøt (Rice porridge), gløgg (tasty drink served warm and with raisings). Sometimes people mix it with wine. Pepperkake (gingerbread) baked and eaten throughout the month, Julebrus (Christmas soda), Juleøl (Christmas beer)

We spent our Christmas and New Year’s in Merket, a Red Cross activity center in Valdres. We joined families, volunteers from Østfold and Buskerud Red Cross and other youth delegates for ferie for alle (holiday for all) to celebrate this festive season. We had lots of amusing outdoor and indoor activities on different days. We got to try out skiing for the first time, we had akebakken (toboggan run), kanefart (sleigh rides), sledging and other winter games like snowball fighting, curling game, ski fly. We went for bålplassen – a trip in the woods for a bonfire. We made s’mores and marshmallows in the woods and drank hot kakao. We also made lampshades out of snowball. My favorite was the snow scooter ride and making a snow man which was a complete failure but I haven’t given up yet. For the indoor activities, we had bingo, horse racing, film watching, making & decorating pepperkake, we also made handmade new year’s decorations.

During christmas eve.

During christmas eve.

On Christmas eve we had a dinner party. We ate nicely prepared pork chops served with potatoes and later danced around the Christmas tree. It was amusing to see people so happy some dancing to the beat and some, not so much. Later the Santa came bearing gifts for the children. It was really enjoyable and a fantastic experience to take part in the activity.

Did you know?

Eritreans celebrate Christmas twice—on December 25 and again on January 7. The latter holiday is called Geez Christmas, which is recognized by members of the Russian Orthodox Church. The date is based on the Julian calendar.

A plate of Injera and lamb stew

A plate of Injera and lamb stew

We were happy to be invited to an Eritrean Orthodox Christmas celebration on 7th January 2019 at Oppegård Red Cross branch. A variety of typical traditional dishes and drinks were served. We got to try injera (a somewhat sour flatbread) accompanied by a variety of spicy stews and salad. Around 35people from different countries turned up for the party. We danced to Eritrean songs and to songs from many other different countries.