Christmas is the most important holiday celebration in Norway, and has a huge cultural importance for the Norwegian people. But what do Norwegians even call Christmas in Norwegian?
The Norwegian word for Christmas is jul. This word originates from the word for jol, the ancient Norse celebration (called Yule in English). We Norwegians still refer to Christmas as jul when talking about it today, so that’s what Norwegians call Christmas.
Despite keeping its original name, many of the Christmas traditions are tied to Christianity and the religious Christmas.
As a matter of fact, modern Christmas traditions in Norway are a big mix between old traditions that originated in Norse mythology, Christian impulses from when Norway became a Christian country, and more modern impulses from countries such as the United States.
The latter impulses are mainly from more recent times when Norwegians have consumed American media, and over time started to adopt some of the traditions.
The origin of the word Jul
Jul can be originated back to two Norse words; Jòlnir and Ýlir. Both of these were used as names for the Norse god Odin, even though there is a lot of debate around exactly how and when these words were used for the god.
Other Norwegian words related to Christmas
Below are some of the most used Christmas related Norwegian words, making it easy to get ready for the holiday if you are currently trying to learn Norwegian.
As you can see from the table, we tend to just add jul as a prefix to any other word to make it special to Christmas, just like what is done in English as well. So for example, Christmas food translates to julemat.
Nicklas is the owner and editor of The Norway Guide, and is responsible for most of the content on the website.
He lives in Skien, Norway with his wife and two children. Nicklas is specialized in Norwegian ecology (including Norway’s geology, wildlife and flora) from his degree in Ecology And Nature Management at University of South-Eastern Norway, but has a particular interest in tourism and content creation.
His biggest hobbies are fishkeeping, going on hikes with his dog, and rooting for the local football team.