Norwegian word of the day: Lille julaften

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected] • 23 Dec, 2022 Updated Fri 23 Dec 2022 12:11 CEST
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December 23rd marks little Christmas eve in Norway. Caption Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash / Nicolas Raymond/FlickR

Today’s word of the day is about the Norwegian word for Christmas Eve Eve and the traditions surrounding it.

What does it mean 

Lille julaften translates to little Christmas Eve. It refers to the day before Christmas Eve, the day Norwegians celebrate Christmas with family meals, traditions and the giving and receiving of gifts. 

Previously the date was called Torlaksmesse after the Icelandic bishop Thorlák Thorhallson. The name was later Norwegianised. 

The day has long been marked to make the final preparations before Christmas and was seen as a day for cleaning and decorating the house. Some Norwegians will put up their Christmas trees on the evening of little Christmas Eve. 

Another, more modern, tradition sees families tune into the TV programme Kvelden før Kvelden (The evening before the evening), which boasts guests, live music performances and Christmas recipes. 

The programme usually is one of the most watched of the year, as families tune in to get an early dose of Christmas cheer. 

Other traditions include making and decorating gingerbread houses or eating rice porridge with sugar, cinnamon and butter. 

Pynter dere juletreet deres på lille julaften?

Do you decorate your tree on little Christmas eve?

Jeg synes lille julaften er den fineste dagen I desember.

I think little Christmas eve is the loveliest day in December.

Jeg er så stressa fordi jeg har ikke kjøpt julegaver ennå og det er lille julaften!

 I am so stressed because I haven’t bought Christmas gifts yet, and it’s already little Christmas Eve!

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Frazer Norwell 2022/12/23 12:11

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