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Norwegian: Christmas terms

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by StunningNorway, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. StunningNorway Junior Member

    Australia
    English - Australia
    Hei alle

    I have just discovered that Norwegians refer to 'Christmas Day' as 'første juledag'. (I had thought that it was just juledag.)

    'Christmas Eve' is 'julaften', I believe.

    I was told recently that there is a name/term for the 23rd of December, because it is a preparation day. If so, what is it called?

    In Australia, we call the 26th of December, Boxing Day. Does Norway have a term for this date?

    Takk for hjelpen.
    :)
     
  2. Halfdan Junior Member

    Canadian English
    According to Wikipedia, the 23rd is referred to as lille julaften, but can also be called Tollesmesse, Torlaksmesse and Sjursmesse. It is a day set forth in honour of Thorlákr Thorhallsson, an Icelandic bishop from the 12th century. I'm not sure about the 26th, though.
     
  3. Havfruen Senior Member

    USA
    English - American
    In Denmark the 26th is 'anden juledag' which may be the same in Norway.
     
  4. NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Norwegian
    Dec 21: Tomasdagen/Tomasmesse
    Dec 22: Vintersolverv
    Dec 23: Lillejulaften
    Dec 24: Julaften
    Dec 25: 1.(første) juledag/Juledagen
    Dec 26: 2.(andre) juledag/Stefansdagen/Staffansdagen
    Dec 27: 3.(tredje) juledag
    Dec 28: 4.(fjerde) juledag/Barnedagen
    Dec 29: 5.(femte) juledag
    Dec 30: 6.(sjette) juledag
    Dec 31: Nyttårsaften
    Jan 1: 1.(første) nyttårsdag/Nyttårsdagen
    Jan 2: 2.(andre) nyttårsdag
    ...
    Jan 5: Helligtrekongersaften/Tolvtedagen
    Jan 6: Trettende dag jul/Trettendedagen/Helligtrekongersdag

    Yuletide in Norway lasts from Dec 23 until Jan 6
     
  5. bicontinental Senior Member

    U.S.A.
    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    My Norwegian relatives always refer to the 22nd as "Bitte lille (or bittelille) julaften", a term which sadly doesn´t exist in Danish...:)

    Bic.
     
  6. NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Norwegian
    I suppose you can, but these are the official names
     
  7. Grefsen

    Grefsen Senior Member

    Southern California
    English - United States
    Tusen takk for starting this very interesting thread, StunningNorway.
    This is the first time I've heard of "Bitte lille (or bittelille) julaften." Is there anything special that your Norwegian relatives do on this day?
     
  8. NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Norwegian
    "Billelillejulaften" er noe jeg også kalte da jeg var liten, men det er ikke noe offisielt navn!
     
  9. bicontinental Senior Member

    U.S.A.
    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    @ Norwegian. Well, in all fairness to my relatives, they never claimed that bittelille julaften was as official as ‘Vintersolverv’, but they tell me that it’s used throughout Norway. The only term in Danish that I know of is (vinter)solhverv, so I was just curious to find out how widespread its use really is in modern Norwegian.

    @ Grefsen: The only thing I remember is that they make rice porridge for dinner with sugar, cinnamon and dollops of butter on top. I suspect this is their own special tradition, though. :)

    Bic.
     
  10. Cerb Senior Member

    Norwegian - Bokmål
    Rice porridge served like that is a very common Christmas dish in Norway. If not a tradition, lille julaften (or any of the days preceeding Christmas Eve), is a good candidate for an easy dish like this :)

    As for the named days, the ones you're likely to hear are:

    While "bittelille Julaften" might not be an "official" term in any sense, anyone will understand it and I'm sure I've even used it myself at some point. It's not as common as any of the others however.
     
  11. NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Norwegian
    I am with you, Cerb. "Bittelillejulaften" is not a common name. Personally I find it to be a tad bit infantile, and I think most people will only use it jokingly or for children.
     
  12. StunningNorway Junior Member

    Australia
    English - Australia
    Hei

    Thank you for the list Norwegian NYC!! I haven't come across this list in any of my resources.

    Takk for your nice comment, Grefsen. :)

    Ha det
     
  13. Grefsen

    Grefsen Senior Member

    Southern California
    English - United States
    When is Romjulen?
     
  14. NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Norwegian
    Romjul is Dec 27 -Dec 31. The name is originally romhelg, from Norse rumheilag = "less holy"
     
  15. Grefsen

    Grefsen Senior Member

    Southern California
    English - United States
    Tusen takk for det NorwegianNYC!
    I had assumed that romjul meant "between Christmas and New Year's Eve" and was the period of time from Dec 27 - Dec 30. Thanks so much for providing information about the word origin of romjul and for clarifying that New Year's Eve Day is also included in this time period. :)
     
  16. henbjo Junior Member

    Valencia, Spain
    Norwegian
    I don't think Norwegians are all that conscious about whether or not Dec 31 is included in romjula, however most people would probably consider it to if they thought about it. December 31 is not an official holiday, although most stores and such will close in the early afternoon, and some may not open at all.
     
  17. NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Norwegian
    Henbjo - I agree. Officially (in the sense romjul is something official...) the term refers to the days between the holidays, and since NYE is not a holiday, it is not included. However, most Norwegians probably consider NYE to be a holiday, the same way most people consider Christmas Eve (and even Dec 23) to be a holiday.
     
  18. Grefsen

    Grefsen Senior Member

    Southern California
    English - United States
    Tusen takk henbjo og NorwegianNYC!
    I've never been in Norway on New Year's Eve Day and was incorrectly assuming that it's an official holiday. Thanks for clearing that up. :)
     
  19. NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Norwegian
    Hi - it is not what English speaking countries refer to as a bank holiday, but the time period Dec 23 - Jan 2 is essentially one long holiday. Norwegians do not celebrate Christmas per se. "Jul" is a 13-day period of varying degrees of celebrations. It stems from "jól" which was one of the months of the ancient pagan calendar.
     
  20. basslop

    basslop Senior Member

    Norway
    Norwegian
    For the record, and as you all probably know: Astronomically is it is not correct ot say that vintersolverv is Dec 22. It varies between 21. and 22. However, I suppose your list refers to old traditional names of the days - before they knew about atronomy details.

    Should aslo be mentioned:
    Jan 13: Tjuendedagen.
     
  21. kms Junior Member

    Norwegian
    Rice porridge is also a main ingredient of the dessert "Riskrem" that's often served after Christmas dinner, at least in my part of the country.
     
  22. Grefsen

    Grefsen Senior Member

    Southern California
    English - United States
    Is it common for a lot of companies in Norway to shut down completely during this 13 day period?
     
  23. NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Norwegian
    No, not anymore. The period from Dec 13 (St. Lucia) until Jan 6 (Epiphany, Holy Three Kings, Twelfth Night) was the old, pre-Christian month of jól. This was not a long holiday period, but a calendar month. Very little work could be done at this time of year, due to the dwindling hours of daylight. The actual celebration did not start until Dec 23/24, and there were twelve days of Christmas - ending Jan 6. Nowadays, it is in essence over by Jan 1, and many smaller companies shut down for the entire period.
     
  24. Grefsen

    Grefsen Senior Member

    Southern California
    English - United States
    Are the only officially recognized Norwegian holidays during this Yuletide period December 25-26 and January 1-2?
     
  25. NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Norwegian
    Official holidays are Dec 25-26 and Jan 1. However, Dec 24 and Dec 27-31 are semi-holidays. Stores have different hours and many offices and companies are closed. Jan 2 depends on what day of the week it falls. For this upcoming Christmas it is on a Tuesday, and will probably be a regular day.
     
  26. Grefsen

    Grefsen Senior Member

    Southern California
    English - United States
    Tusen takk for det NorwegianNYC!
    So would businesses that are closed Dec 27-31 have a sign saying "Stengt på Romjul" or something similar to this?
     
  27. Grefsen

    Grefsen Senior Member

    Southern California
    English - United States
    Is the "13-day period" you mention Dec. 21st - Jan. 2nd? Is it more common for Norwegians to simply call this time period Jul or is Juletiden the preferred name to use?
     
  28. NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Norwegian
    To answer both your questions:

    - It will say Stengt i romjula
    - The 13 day period is actually Dec 23/24 - Jan 6. It is simply called jul (usually Feminine (jula), but can also be Masculine (julen))
     
  29. Grefsen

    Grefsen Senior Member

    Southern California
    English - United States
    Tusen takk for det NorwegianNYC! :thumbsup:

    Would the following be an appropriate greeting to send to a group of Norwegian friends?

    God romjul allesammen!
     
  30. Cerb Senior Member

    Norwegian - Bokmål
    "God jul (and at this point in romjula) og godt nyttår" is more common. If you're sending a card or talking to someone you don't expect to see for a while you could use both at any point in the same way as in English.

    "Romjul" isn't considered a holiday, it simply refers to the time period as discussed earlier. The days outside the official holidays have normal working hours on paper, but people will typically try to take those days off if their line of work allows it. A business run from an office might simply close for Christmas while a grocery store/supermarket can be expected to keep normal opening hours. Christmas and New Year's Eve are exceptions and tend to be considered official holidays from 13:00-15:00 for most purposes (shops close, overtime pay rates kick in etc.)
     
  31. NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Norwegian
    Hi Cerb,
    You are absolutely correct, but I would like to add a little to you explanantion. During romjul, most stores will run on special hours (grocery stores included), some stores will not be open at all, most offices will be closed (or very short on staff) and smaller, privately owned businesses will most likely be closed. Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve have never been offical holidays in Norway, but are usually treated as a sort of customary holiday. There might be local ordinances regulating the opening hours on such days, but mostly it happens through customary and mutual understanding.
     
  32. henbjo Junior Member

    Valencia, Spain
    Norwegian
    My experience is that this is increasingly not the case anymore. At least here in Oslo, there's a definite trend towards regular opening hours in romjula. Almost all the stores, department stores and such around where I live run regular hours during romjulsdagene, and I also know quite a few offices that does this now.
     

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