Norwegian word of the day: Julekalender 

Frazer Norwell
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Norwegian word of the day: Julekalender 
Advent calendars in Norway come in many different forms. Norwegian word of the day. Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash and Nicolas Raymond/FlickR

Advent calendars in Norway come in all shapes, sizes and formats. We'll guide you through the basics. 


What does it mean? 

Julekalender is a relatively straightforward word to decipher. It's a compound of the Norwegian words for Christmas (jul) and calendar (kalender). Put together, they mean Christmas calendar, but more accurately translate to advent calendar.  

As with most advent calendars, they begin on December 1st and end on the day when the country celebrates Christmas, in Norway, this is Christmas Eve, December 24th. 

What really sets Norwegian Christmas calendars apart from the rest is that they don't just come in the form of little boxes containing chocolate or small gifts. 

They also come in other formats. Firstly is the Scandinavian tradition of julekalender shows on TV. Norway, Denmark and Sweden all have miniature episodes which broadcast each day and are aimed at adults and children alike. 


These short blasts of Christmas cheer are a much-loved tradition across Norway, and many will watch the advent show they grew up with every year into adulthood. 

You might have heard of some of these, such as Jul på Månetoppen, The Julekalender, Jul i Skomakergata and Jul i Svingen. 

This year, public broadcaster NRK has made all its old advent shows free to watch online. 

It's not just TV shows and chocolates, though. Some communities will put together their own in-person advent calendars. These will typically feature carols, live performances and more. 

An example of one of these is the Torshov Julekalender in Oslo. As part of the event, there will be a new cultural performance from a different resident's window each night in the run-up to Christmas eve. 

Use it like this: 

Hvilken julekalender ser du på?

Which Christmas calendar do you watch?

Hva fikk du i julekalenderen din i dag?

What did you get in your Christmas calendar today?


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