Advent is a Christian religious festival which marks the coming of Christ. In Norway there are many traditions connected to Advent, and Norwegians have different ways to celebrate and cherish this time of the year. Here’s a few of them so that you can understand better how Norwegians appreciate Advent.
Light a Candle
Advent starts on the last Sunday of November, and lasts until the 24th of December. It’s a time of the year with little daylight in Norway, and one needs some extra light to shine in the darkness.
In many Norwegian homes you’ll find an adventsstake (Advent candle holder). This is a candle holder with four candles on it, one for each Sunday of Advent. The candles are meant to shed light the same way that Jesus lit up the world with his presence.
On the first Sunday of Advent, family members gather in their houses and light one candle. After lighting it someone will say the following:
Advent Candle Holder
Colors on Advent Candles
A great way to make the countdown to Christmas is an Advent calendar. More or less all kids in Norway will have a calendar, but quite a few adults as well as it brings back good childhood memories, or perhaps its a good excuse for a little piece of chocolate every morning.
What’s in the calendar however is not the most important. The most important is that is covers all the days from 1st to the 24th of December. You could say that it should start on the Sunday of Advent, but since this differs every year between November 27 and December 3, it typically always starts on the 1st of December.
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The calendars are opened in the early morning of each day of December. If you have kids this is a great way to get them out of bed. They come in a multiple of forms, from simple paper calendars with small pieces of chocolate, to more elaborate ones with a little present wrapped for each day of December.
In Norway, adults can even buy beer calendars in the store, all though its probably advisable to open those a bit later in the day. You might want to check out Etsy for a wide range of different calendars.
A traditional fun calendar that you can easily make yourself is a nellikkalender (clove calendar). This is basically an orange with 24 cloves pinned into it. Every day, beginning on the 1st of December, I remove one clove. For Norwegians this is a cozy countdown to Christmas Eve.
During the Advent season Norwegians will bring out their Adventsjerne or Julestjerne. This is an advent star (Christmas star) that people hang up in their windows. It’s a great decorative element both for those inside the house and for those on the outside who can enjoy plenty of stars hanging around in peoples windows.
For many there is nothing that brings the Christmas spirit more than lighting the star when you wake up in the morning, or turning it on in the evening. It’ll hang as a beacon, reminding you that Christmas and brighter days are ahead.
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