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How to Say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Norwegian

How to Say Merry Christmas in Norwegian

Do you know any ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in Norwegian? NorwegianClass101 brings you easy-to-learn translations and the correct pronunciation of Norwegian Christmas phrases!

Christmas is the annual commemorative festival of Christ’s birth in the Western Christian Church. It takes place on December 25th and is usually celebrated with much food and fanfare! However, not all cultures celebrate Christmas. In some countries, Christmas is not even a public holiday! However, many countries have adapted Christmas and its religious meaning to tally with their own beliefs, or simply in acknowledgment of the festival’s importance to other cultures. If you want to impress native Norwegian speakers with culturally-appropriate Christmas phrases and vocabulary, NorwegianClass101 will teach you the most important ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in Norwegian!

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate Christmas in Norway
  2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes
  3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary
  4. Twelve Days of Christmas
  5. Top 10 Christmas Characters
  6. How NorwegianClass101 Can Help You

1. How to Celebrate Christmas in Norway

Christmas Words in Norwegian

Christmas Eve. In Norwegian, it’s called juleaften.

In modern Norway, Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve, December 24, but back in the old days, Christmas was celebrated according to the Catholic tradition, and Christmas Day was the most important day. Eventually traditions such as putting up Christmas trees, or juletre, and giving gifts, in Norwegian called gave, came to Norway, and now most people enjoy celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve.

Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-

Do you know what Norwegians put in the Christmas porridge?

If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep reading.

The Christmas shows on TV are an important part of Christmas morning in many Norwegian homes. Many Norwegians feel that the Christmas spirit is not complete until they have seen the Czech-German fairytale “Three Nuts for Cinderella”, which in Norwegian is called “Tre nøtter til Askepott”, Disney’s Christmas medley, and the Norwegian fairytale “Reisen til Julestjernen” meaning “Journey to the Christmas Star”.

Early in the evening, the entire family gathers to eat Christmas dinner together. Some families eat meat as their main course, while others choose to eat fish. Pork ribs, or ribbe, and lye fish, or lutefisk, are two big Christmas classics. In addition, there are potatoes and sauerkraut to round out the meal. Small shot glasses are set on the table and are filled with akevitt, which means akvavit, a Norwegian spirit made from potatoes. This Aquavit is said to help with the digestion of the rich Christmas food.

At night, people gather in their living rooms to sing Christmas songs while standing in a circle around the Christmas tree. They’ll usually unwrap the gifts that lie under the Christmas tree, and often the youngest person must read the names on the gifts and give them out.

In homes with young children, Santa Claus, or julenissen, will come to visit in the evening with a bag full of gifts. He will always ask the same question: “Have you been nice this year?” And if the kids reply with “yes”, they will receive a gift.

Now it’s time to answer our quiz question-

Do you know what Norwegians put in the Christmas porridge?

The answer is an almond. The person who gets the almond in his or her bowl wins a prize, which is a marzipan pig called “marsipangris”. Many Norwegians try their hardest to get the almond, and end up eating way too much porridge

2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes for the Holiday Season

Holiday Greetings and Wishes

1- Merry Christmas!

God jul!

Do you know how to say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Norwegian? Learn here how to pronounce it perfectly! ‘Merry’ means to be joyful, to celebrate and generally be in good spirits. So, with this phrase you are wishing someone a joyful, celebratory remembrance of Christ’s birth!

2- Happy Kwanzaa!

God Kwanzaa!

Surprise your African-American, or West African native friends with this phrase over the Christmas holidays! Kwanzaa is a seven-day, non-religious celebration, starting on Dec 26th each year. It has its roots in African American modern history, and many people celebrate both Kwanzaa and Christmas!

3- Have a happy New Year!

Ha et godt nytt år!

In countries where Christmas is not officially celebrated, but a Gregorian calendar is observed, this would be a friendly festive-season wish over New Year.

4- Happy Hanukkah!

Gledelig Hanukka!

Hanukkah is the beautiful Hebrew festival over November or December each year. It is also called the ‘Festival of Lights’ and is celebrated to commemorate the Jewish freedom of religion.

5- Have a great winter vacation!

Ha en flott juleferie!

This is a good phrase to keep handy if someone doesn’t observe any religious festival over the Christmas holidays! However, this will only be applicable in the Northern hemisphere, where it is winter over Christmas.

6- See you next year!

Sees neste år!

Going away on holiday over Christmas season, or saying goodbye to someone about to leave on vacation? This would be a good way to say goodbye to your friends and family.

7- Warm wishes!

Varme ønsker!

An informal, friendly phrase to write in Norwegian Christmas cards, especially for secular friends who prefer to observe Christmas celebrations without the religious symbolism. It conveys the warmth of friendship and friendly wishes associated with this time of year.

8- Happy holidays!

God ferie!

If you forget how to say ‘Merry Christmas!’ in Norwegian, this is a safe, generic phrase to use instead.

9- Enjoy the holidays!

Nyt ferien!

After saying ‘Merry Christmas’ in Norwegian, this would be a good phrase with which to wish Christmas holiday-goers well! It is also good to use for secular friends who don’t celebrate Christmas but take a holiday at this time of the year.

10- Best wishes for the New Year!

De beste ønsker for det nye året!

This is another way of wishing someone well in the New Year if they observe a Gregorian calendar. New Year’s day would then fall on January 1st.

3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary

Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary

Christmas is associated with many traditions and religious symbols in multiple countries across the world. It originated centuries ago in the West with the birth of Christianity, and the celebrations are often embedded with rich cultural significance. So, by now you know how to say Merry Christmas in Norwegian! Next, learn pertinent vocabulary and phrases pertaining to Christmas, as well as how to pronounce them correctly. At NorwegianClass101, we make sure you sound like a native speaker!

1- Christmas

jul

This is the Norwegian word for ‘Christmas’. Most happy Christmas wishes in Norwegian will include this word!

2- Snow

snø

In most Northern-hemisphere countries, Christmas is synonymous with snow, and for Christmas, the snowman is often dressed as Santa Claus.

3- Snowflake

snøflak

Snowflakes collectively make up snow. A single snowflake is small, white, light like a feather and icy cold! When put under a microscope, the snowflake reveals itself to have the most beautiful, symmetrical patterns. These patterns have become popular Christmas decorations, especially in Western countries.

4- Snowman

snømann

As you guessed - a snowman is only possible to build if it is snowing! What a fun way to spend Christmas day outside.

5- Turkey

kalkun

Roast turkey is the traditional main dish on thousands of lunch tables on Christmas day, mainly in Western countries. What is your favorite Christmas dish?

6- Wreath

krans

Another traditional Western decoration for Christmas, the wreath is an arrangement of flowers, leaves, or stems fastened in a ring. Many families like to hang a Christmas wreath outside on their houses’ front doors.

7- Reindeer

Reinsdyret Rudolf

Reindeer are the animals commonly fabled to pull Santa Claus’ sled across the sky! Western Christmas folklore tells of Father Christmas or Santa Claus doing the rounds with his sled, carrying Christmas presents for children, and dropping them into houses through the chimney. But who is Santa Claus?

8- Santa Claus

julenisse

Santa Claus is a legendary and jolly figure originating in the Western Christian culture. He is known by many names, but is traditionally depicted as a rotund man wearing a red costume with a pointy hat, and sporting a long, snow-white beard!

9- Elf

alv

An elf is a supernatural creature of folklore with pointy ears, a dainty, humanoid body and a capricious nature. Elves are said to help Santa Claus distribute presents to children over Christmas!

10- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Reinsdyret Rudolf

‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ is a Christmas song based on an American children’s story book with the same name. Rudolph is one of Santa’s reindeer. The song became more famous than the book, and can still be heard playing in many shopping malls over Christmas time across the globe!

11- North Pole

Nordpolen

The cold North Pole is where Santa Claus is reputed to live with his reindeer!

12- Sled

slede

A sled is a non-motorised land vehicle used to travel over snow in countries where it snows a lot, and is usually pulled by animals such as horses, dogs or reindeer. This one obviously refers to Santa’s sled! Another word for sled is sleigh or sledge.

13- Present

gave

Gift or present giving is synonymous with Christmas Eve and the greatest source of joy for children over this festive time! This tradition signifies that Christ’s birth was a gift to mankind, but not all people who hand out presents over Christmas observe the religious meaning.

14- Bell

bjelle

On Christmas Day, or Christmas Eve, many religious celebrants enjoy going to church for a special sermon and Christmas rituals. The start of the sermon is often announced with bells or a bell, if the church has one. For this reason, the sound of ringing bells is often associated with Christmas Day.

15- Chimney

pipe

The chimney is the entrance Santa Claus uses to deliver children’s presents on Christmas Day, according to folklore! Wonder how the chubby man and his elves stay clean…?!

16- Fireplace

peis

In most countries where it snows, Christmas is synonymous with a fire or burning embers in houses’ fireplaces. Families huddle around its warmth while opening Christmas presents. Also, this is where Santa Claus is reputed to pop out after his journey down the chimney!

17- Christmas Day

Juledag

This is the official day of commemorative celebration of Christ’s birth, and falls each year on December 25.

18- Decoration

dekorasjon

Decorations are the colourful trinkets and posters that make their appearance in shops and homes during the Christmas holiday season in many countries! They give the places a celebratory atmosphere in anticipation of the big Christmas celebration. Typical Christmas decorations include colorful photographs and posters, strings of lights, figurines of Santa Claus and the nativity scene, poinsettia flowers, snowflakes and many more.

19- Stocking

strømpe

According to legend, Santa Claus places children’s presents in a red stocking hanging over the fireplace. This has also become a popular decoration, signifying Christmas.

20- Holly

kristtorn

Holly is a shrub native to the UK, and parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. It is characterised by glossy, spiny-toothed leaves, small, whitish flowers, and red berries. Ironically, its significance for Christmas relates to Christ’s crucifixion and suffering rather than his birth. However, the leaves’ distinctive shape and image have become popular Christmas decorations.

21- Gingerbread house

pepperkakehus

According to legend, the gingerbread house synonymous with Christmas is related to Christ’s birth place, Bethlehem. Bethlehem literally means ‘House of Bread’. Over centuries, it has become a popular treat over Christmas time in many non-religious households as well.

22- Candy cane

polkagris

According to folklore, Christmas candy canes made their appearance first in Germany in the 16th century. A choir master gave children the candy canes to suck on in church in order to keep them quiet during the Christmas sermon! Apparently, the candy is shaped like a cane in remembrance of the shepherds who were the first to visit the baby Jesus. Today, like gingerbread houses, they are still a popular sweet over the festive season!

23- Mistletoe

misteltein

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows on certain trees. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that the mistletoe has magical powers, and could protect a household from evil if hung above a door during December. The belief didn’t last but the habit did, and the mistletoe is another popular Christmas decoration!

4. Twelve Days of Christmas

Twelve Days of Christmas

Wow, you’re doing extremely well! You know how to wish someone a Merry Christmas in Norwegian, and you learned pertinent vocabulary too! The Twelve Days of Christmas is not very well known in modern times, so, you’re on your way to becoming an expert in Christmas traditions and rituals. Well done!

The Twelve Days of Christmas, also known as Twelvetide, is a traditional festive period of 12 days dedicated to celebrate the nativity of Christ. Christmas Day is, for many who observe Twelvetide, the first day of this period.

‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ is also a popular Christmas song about a series of gifts given on each day of Twelvetide. According to experts, these gifts were created as a coded reference to important symbols in the Christian church. Here is a list of those gifts mentioned in the song! Do you recognise them?

5. Top 10 Christmas Characters in American Culture

Top 10 Christmas Characters

This is fantastic, you know how to explain almost everything about Christmas in Norwegian! However, do you know the most popular Christmas characters in American culture? Your knowledge will not be complete without this list.

6. NorwegianClass101 Is One Of The Best Online Language Schools Available!

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We have over a decade of experience and research behind us, and it shows! With thousands of audio and video lessons, detailed PDF lessons and notes, as well as friendly, knowledgeable hosts, NorwegianClass101 is simply unbeatable when it comes to learning correct Norwegian. Plenty of tools and resources are available when you study with us. New lessons are added every week so material remains fresh and relevant. You also have the option to upgrade and enjoy even more personalised guidance and services. This is a sure way to fast-track your learning!

So, this Christmas, why don’t you give yourself a present and enroll in NorwegianClass101? Or give an enrollment as a present to a loved one. It will be a gift with benefits for a whole lifetime, not just over Christmas!

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