Are you worried that the shorter days and longer cold hours will take its toll on you if you spend your Winter Holidays in Norway? Don’t fret.
Norway is one country where the Yuletide festivities is a big thing. It is so important that they begin as early as the start of December ending up to the New Year!
But let’s get you ready to impress your Norwegian friends and learn how to greet them in Norwegian for the holidays – today you will learn how to wish someone a Merry Christmas in Norwegian, how to wish one a Happy New Year in Norwegian and also other winter-related words and greetings.
This way, you will be able to impress your friends and family. I guarantee that they will appreciate it even if you don’t get the pronunciation right, so just give it a try! It’s worth it – more than an expensive gift in most cases.
How to say Merry Christmas in Norwegian?
Merry Christmas in Norwegian sounds like gou-yuul – quite similar to how they say it in Danish and Swedish but with a very slight difference in the accent. They’re all Scandianvian countries and languages, after all.
But back to “God Jul” (Merry Christmas!), don’t be anxious about it. Norwegians will understand what you mean perfectly no matter if you don’t get an A+ with your pronunciation.
How to say Happy New Year in Norwegian?
Gott Nytt År!
Happy New Year in Norwegian may also be spelled similarly to other Scandinavian countries, but the pronunciation also slightly differs with it sounding like “Goodt-nitturr” – a bit deeper and more prolonged than how their neighbors would say it.
But as you see, it’s definitely not a difficult thing to say. You can do this!
Also, if you want to mix both and wish somebody in advance “Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year” you can easily (well, somewhat) do it by saying: God Jul og Gott Nytt År!
Should you want any other meaningful winter holiday phrases in Norwegian, here are some more common ones to help you by:
Ha en flott juleferie – Have a great winter vacation
God ferie – Happy holidays
De beste ønsker for det nye året! – Best wishes for the new year!
Varme ønsker – Warm wishes
Sees neste år – See you next year
To boost your stock of words often used in the Christmas season, here are some additions to your Norwegian Yul vocabulary.
Jul – Christmas
Juletre – Christmas Tree
Snø – snow
Slede – sled
Gave – Gift/Present
Julenisse – Santa Claus
Misteltein – Mistletoe
Pepperkakehus – Gingerbread house
Pepperkaker – Gingerbread cookies
Juledag – Christmas Day
There is an outstanding joke that on the months of December, everything in Norway becomes prefixed with Jul- and every choice you make is labeled as “Christmas-something.” This pretty much gives you a hint at anything that starts with Jul (Yuul) is something Christmassy!
Now that you know how to say Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year in Norwegian, let’s take a closer look at the local traditions and festivities during the winter holidays.
If you happen to visit Norway earlier in December or even late November, you will find preparations for the “big day” already underway. Of course, there is the traditional Advent celebrations where family share in the lighting of Advent candles each Sunday.
The Christmas tree is also a traditional fixture in homes and business establishments. Instead of circular wreaths, Norwegians decorate the entrances of their homes with ribboned oat bundles.
Don’t be surprised – these are winter treats for the birds. But it’s not only the feather friends who get the yummies for Christmas. Norway is also known best for Marzipan!
It has been said by Nizar, a marzipan manufacturer, that Norwegians (and their guests) consume more than 40 million pieces of marzipan figures over the Christmas period!
You will know the Christmas buzz has set it when entire sections of Norwegian supermarkets start dedicating whole sections and aisles to Christmas Marzipan. The star of these almond and sugar paste confectionaries is the Marzipan Pig.
On Christmas day, it is a tradition in Norway to eat risgrøt – a yummy rice porridge flavored with cinnamon, milk, vanilla, and raisins.
A single almond is hidden in the porridge. Whoever gets the almond in his bowl receives the marzipan pig as a prize and is hailed the luckiest person in the room!
Of course, you could just go to the supermarket and buy yourself some lucky marzipan pigs to munch on but hey – it’s not the same!
Another yummy treat that you might receive is the cone-shaped krumkaker. These cookies are usually made by hand and are delightfully light and tasty – a traditional Norwegian pastry.
Another thing that you need to look forward to is the Julebord, literally meaning Christmas tables. These are dinner parties held for family and close friends held usually on the weekends leading up to Christmas with the biggest spread on Christmas day.
And since you’re in Norway, be ready for snow, snow, and more snow! Many people favor going up to the mountains to hit the slopes.
With the longer nights and shorter days, it’s a good idea to be outdoors while you can – otherwise you’d be stuck munching on sweet treats at home the whole time.
When in Norway, be ready to hop from home to home, visiting your friends and the families of your friends.
It begins on Christmas Eve dinner where you’re sure to find ribbe (pork ribs or pork belly, bone in), but lutefisk (cod cured in lye), pinnekjøtt (dry-cured ribs of lamb), boiled cod, ham roast, or turkey. You wash it all down with a generous swig of juleøl (“Christmas beer”) which is already sold as early as late November.
You can also opt for Aquavit, a traditional Norwegian spirit brewed from potatoes which is quite popular on Christmas Eve.
The gatherings go on for a week and on New Year’s Eve, Norwegians usually gather in a home of a friend or family member to welcome the new year together.
A big dinner is held and the adults wait late into the night. Just before the clock strikes twelve, people gather in the streets with small fireworks and sparklers.
At the stroke of midnight, the town hall bursts into grand fireworks display with the rest of the population chiming in with greetings and songs, their smaller lightworks in hand.
At this point, the festivities wind down as Norwegians spend the rest of New Year’s Day attending church and resting from all the celebration.
And if you haven’t tried reindeer or moose steak, the New Year’s Day dinner is where you will most likely get a taste of these Norwegian dishes.
The winter holidays in Norway are indeed touted to be one of the most festive, so don’t dread being in Norway the days are shorter. You will surely be in for a unique winter holiday experience.