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WHAT GOES ON IN A NORWEGIAN CHRISTMAS MARKET?
In Norway Christmas lasts for more than a few days: Many rituals are celebrated the entire season. What makes it magical is the snow that envelopes most of the country during the holiday season! Picture this: The earthy warmth from open fires, fragrance of clementine peels and spruce branches, and the sound of kids goofing around in snow!
Who doesn’t love Christmas? The Nordic countries just do it a bit better, I am told. The short days, the long dark nights and cold weather of winter calls for something special. Since early December, people start baking Christmas cookies. Much like the tradition during Diwali in India, people buy gifts, clean house and buy new clothes.Pre-Christmas celebrations are no less significant. Churches and auditoriums host Christmas concerts all over the nation. In schools kids participate in the Santa Lucia celebration on December 13th.
Christmas Eve (December 24th) is a big day what with people indulging in big family dinners. Those tourists who don’t have access to the food cooked at locals homes can try the traditional dishes at restaurants during the season. Goro, krumkaker or berlinekrans available in bakeries and supermarkets are some of the popular Norwegian Christmas cookies
It is more exciting for the kids. Which kid does not like to open the gifts waiting under the Christmas tree. The occasional visit from the Santa Claus is the cherry on the cake! In fact the entire month of December is laced with festive fever, ending only with grand celebrations on New Year’s Eve. Read more about X Mas Markets in Norway here
CHRISTMAS MARKETS IN SWEDEN:
The cities, small towns and nondescript villages of Sweden glow against the white winter landscape during X Mas. Surreal indeed! The streets of Sweden come alive every Christmas thanks to the fresh nip in the air, rosy cheeked revellers and infectious festive fervour. A scarf, a hat and gloves in place and you are ready for the skating-rink. Not to forget, leisurely walks through the festive Christmas markets of Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. A glass of spicy mulled wine (glögg) provides the needed warmth. The handicrafts and Christmas decorations vie for attention when you are not busy filling your face with X Mas special treats and traditional Swedish Christmas sweets.
On, or the week before December 13th, the 400-year old tradition of the ‘queen of light’, St. Lucia is a must see. Expect church concerts and processions. On this day, thousands of young girls emerge from the darkness of a Swedish winters day and gently silence the crowds with a procession of light., Dressed in flowing white gowns as Lucia’s maidens, each girl holds a candle and adorns a wreath of glowing candles in the hair. The children solemnly proceed through cities, towns and churches, handing out saffron buns and singing Lucia’s beautiful melodies. They dress up as gingerbread men, elves and stjärngossar. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of such magic?
Christmas at Santa World
What’s more? If you visit the heart of Dalarna, central Sweden, you can visit Santa’s workshop, meet his reindeer and catch a glimpse of the Christmas present storage. You can even visit Santa’s house personally give him a wish list so that you don’t end up getting disappointing gifts. Learn more about the Santa World by clicking here.
THE BEST CHRISTMAS MARKETS OF DENMARK:
If you visit Denmark’s atmospheric Christmas markets, it might end up becoming your best Christmas Shopping experience ever. Come November, and the streets of Denmark explodes with inimitable X Mas markets. Think the famous Tivoli Christmas market or the traditional Christmas markets at castles and manor houses around Denmark. Nothing works best than warming yourself with a serving of mulled wine (gløgg) Not to forget the perfect Danish design gifts and decorations. Check more here
Other great places to enjoY X Mas markets are Roskilde, Stændertorvet Market Square. Think of bingeing on the local delicacies or indulging in the Christmas gift hunting in the neat decorated wooden huts embellished with Christmas decorations, glass art , illustrations knitwear, pottery, jewellery, the works!
A Christmas fair for kids- On weekends, kids can let their hair down in creative Christmas workshops, all set up with the help of local actors. BEVAR, a social economic company encourages the kids to create their own Christmas decorations by recycling used garments. Experiences like musical concerts, a Christmas train running through the city etc make it even more magical.
I have never experienced a ‘real Christmas market’ and I hope one day I can fly to all of these magical Scandinavian countries and see it for myself. It sure sounds like otherworldly.
The view from my #SoulWindow must be magical!
Disclaimer: It is a promotional blog based upon my research. All pictures are courtesy Scandinavia Tourism.
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