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NORWEGIAN TRADITIONS

IN NUMBERS: The key figures you need to understand Easter in Norway

Whether it's where people spend Easter, how many Kvikk Lunsjs they will eat or which parts of the country the Easter Bunny should avoid, these are all the key stats you need to understand Easter in Norway. 

Skiers in Lyngen.
These numbers will help you understand just how important these Easter traditions in Norway are. Pictured are skiers in Lyngen. Photo by Hendrik Morkel on Unsplash

Sometimes, you need the help of numbers to see the big picture or truly understand something, and Easter in Norway is unique for several reasons.

As words cannot give these traditions the proper justice they deserve, we’ll let the numbers do the talking. 

Norwegians are born with skis on their feet

Many associate Easter with warmer weather, bluebells and daffodils. For many in Norway, Easter means snow and hurtling down a mountain on one or two planks of wood, depending on whether you prefer skiing or snowboarding. 

To grasp just how popular skiing is in Norway, we’ll look at some figures from Statistics Norway. 80 percent have told the data collection firm that they had been, alpine skiing or snowboarding in the last year, while two-thirds said they had been cross country skiing.

For many, Easter is the best time of year for skiing as the warmer weather makes the snow softer and nicer to turn on. 

However, this trend may be on the decline as in 2019, a report from Statistics Norway found fewer and fewer Norwegians were skiing. Cross-country skiing was the discipline to take the biggest hit. 

‘Easter crime’ novels make up 50 percent of books sold

Easter crime is a uniquely Norwegian tradition. During the Easter holidays, Norwegians love to read about gruesome murders and cunning capers. The tradition dates back to 1923, and the popularity of Easter crime has a newspaper ad mocked up to look like a real story to thank. 

READ MORE: Why Norwegians are obsessed with crime fiction at Easter 

Book sales typically increase in the run-up to Easter, and crime literature makes up over 50 percent of books sold at this time of year, compared to between 15-30 percent the rest of the year, figures obtained by newspaper Aftenposten revealed a few years ago.  

Cabin trips 

There are over 445,513 cabins and leisure properties in Norway, according to Statistics Norway

More than three quarters are in the mountains and countryside, while just shy of 100,000 are coastal holiday homes. 

Easter is one of the most popular times of year for a cabin trip, given the five public holidays for workers and Easter holidays for kids. 

Newswire NTB estimated that 1.2 million Norwegians would take a trip to the mountains this Easter. 

Kvikk Lunsj, oranges and eggs sold in their millions

Perhaps just as synonymous with Easter in Norway as lamb and (potentially) Easter eggs are Kvikk Lunsj and oranges. 

For the uninitiated, Kvikk Lunsj is a Norwegian chocolate bar very similar to a Kit-Kat launched just a few years after its nestle counterpart. 

We’ll leave the debate over which is best to you, but it’s clear which side of the fence Norwegians sit on as they get through between 16 and 17 million bars of Kvikk Lunsj each Easter, according to Byas

Oranges are also a typical holiday treat in Norway. They are “must-haves” during both Easter and Christmas, but perhaps they are more significant to Easter. 

READ MORE: How Norwegians celebrate Easter

This is because oranges used to only be available to purchase in Norway during the winter, and they are at their ripest and sweetest around Easter.

But did you know that oranges may not be as popular as first thought? Norwegians actually eat more clementines at Easter than oranges.

Norwegians eat 16 million oranges during Easter, this is eclipsed by the 19 million clementines they get through, according to Norway’s largest distributor of fruit and veg, Bama.

Eggs of the non-chocolate variety are also exceedingly popular. On average, Norwegians eat about 200 eggs per year and at Easter, consumption of eggs doubles, according to public broadcaster NRK

The Easter Bunny should probably avoid these areas

Everybody’s favourite Leporidae, the Easter Bunny, operates in Norway and delivers eggs full of pick and mix to kids each year. However, there are probably some parts of the country he should steer clear off to avoid ending up in a stew. 

The Easter Bunny should avoid the municipalities of Trysil, Ibestad, Leirne, Måsøy, and Dønna, as these are the municipalities that hunt the most hares each year, according to figures on small game hunting.

If he visits you in these municipalities, you should probably keep hold of a lucky rabbit’s foot and hope he makes it out safe. 

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NORWEGIAN WORD OF THE DAY

Five Norwegian words which help sum up May 17th

Norway's national day, May 17th, which marks the signing of the country's constitution, is a unique celebration with plenty of traditions. Here are five words that help explain the occasion.

Five Norwegian words which help sum up May 17th

Champagnefrokost

Breakfast the most important meal of the day. This is no different in Norway, and on May 17th, the meal that people enjoy the most or put the hardest work into if they are hosting (but not any literal blood, sweat or tears, hopefully) is breakfast. 

May 17th normally begins with a champagne breakfast to kick start a day of festivities. The breakfast is typically held relatively early so that people can head out to join in with the celebrations, although some will do it afterwards as a kind of brunch. 

This won’t be your typical Norwegian breakfast. Instead, the canned leverpostei is likely to be parked in favour of more upmarket and luxurious sandwich toppings. 

Barnetog

An event that typically follows the breakfast is the childrens’ parades all over the country.

The word literally translates to ‘children’s train’ but refers to parades. Kids up and down the country will typically participate in parades, usually with their school classes. This will be through the town or city centre. 

The most famous of the childrens’ parades is the one which sees kids in Oslo make their way up Karl Johan Gate Street to wave to the royal family who watch on from the palace. 

The parades usually end with a russetog. The russetog is a procession of russ students. Russ is where final year high-school students in Norway party in the lead up to May 17th. 

This parade maybe isn’t as wholesome as the kids’ one as the students tend to look a bit worse for wear after a month of partying. 

Bunad 

On Norway’s national day, you’ll see plenty of locals dressed in their national costumes. 

The day is so closely associated with the bunad that the national costume could be seen as a symbol of May 17th. 

The origins of the bunad has its roots in the period of national romanticism in Norway in the 19th century. This period led to an interest in traditional folk costumes in Norway and countries such as Germany. 

Folk costumes were worn in Norway a long time before the period of national romanticism, however. For example, in Setesdal, southern Norway, there is a tradition of folk costumes that stretches back to the 14th century. 

READ MORE: What you need to know about Norway’s national costume

Nasjonalsangen

This means the national anthem or song, Norway’s national anthem is Ja, vi elsker dette landet (yes, we love this country). It was only adopted relatively recently, in 2019. 

While Sønner av Norge, was considered the proper national anthem up until this point, Ja, vi elsker dette landet was considered more of a de-facto national anthem and certainly the anthem of May 17th. 

It was first performed publicly on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the constitution, giving the song an incredibly close link with the country’s national day. 

If you do fancy brushing up on the lyrics, just remember it’s typically just the first and last verses that are sung. 

Flagg

This one may not be overly beneficial in expanding your vocabulary, but there is no May 17th without the flags. Most apartments in Norway have a flag holder on their balcony with Constitution Day in mind. 

Not only will the majority of houses and apartment blocks have Norwegian flags on display, but most people also heading out will be carrying flags. 

The flag mania doesn’t stop there, as most breakfast tables will be adorned with flags or decorations depicting the flag. 

One rule would be to ensure that you don’t 

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