Holiday traditions alive at museum

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Folk dancing, traditional Norwegian Christmas food and decorations were on tap for the second weekend in a row at the Norwegian Folkemuseum in Oslo, as it hosts its annual Christmas Fair. Unusually cold winter temperatures were adding a special dose of wintry authenticity.

Crowds were expected this weekend as well at the Norwegian Folkemuseum's annual Christmas Fair on the Bygdøy Peninsula. PHOTO: Isabel Coderre

“This is the coldest dancing day I’ve ever experienced here,” Bodil Ousland told newspaper Aftenposten after last weekend’s fair. “It was minus-16 this morning.”

Weather forecasters warned that this weekend’s temperatures wouldn’t be much higher, but crowds were expected anyway for what’s become one of the Folkemuseum’s most popular events of the year.

It’s billed as the world’s largest open-air museum, with historic homes and villages and even a stave church re-created on a large plot of land on the Oslo’s Bygdøy Peninsula just over the fjord from downtown. Many visitors come year after year, like Tone Stensland, who told Aftenposten that she always buys a freshly made Christmas wreath at the fair, “the finest you can find anywhere.” Others do some of their Christmas shopping while still others simply soak up the atmosphere and, perhaps, some traditionally brewed Christmas beer.

Many of the historic timber buildings are decorated as they would have been way back when, like the old homes built in 1851 and moved to the museum from the mountain valley of Numedal. Other authentic decorations can be found in Chrystiegården, a wealthy merchant’s home from 1769; Sagastua, a farmer’s home from 1720; Ampiansbråten,  a sharecropper’s home from 1884; and a city apartment building featurinig urban Christmas celebrations during the past 100 years.

Christmas concerts were scheduled on the festival grounds at 1pm and 3pm, folk dancing at 12:30 and 2pm, horse-and-buggy rides throughout the day and even some pony riding for children.

The museum and its fair was to be open from 11am until 4pm both Saturday and Sunday.

Views and News staff