More brides take on husbands’ names

Summer is high season for weddings in Norway, and a new trend is taking shape. For the first time in a long time, more Norwegian women are opting to take on their husband’s last name. New figures from state statistics bureau SSB (Statistics Norway) show that fully 46 percent of the brides are adding their husband’s last […]

The secrets of the ‘Christmas calendar’

EXPATRIATE MUSINGS: Axel Johnson is a relatively recent arrival in Oslo, from Sweden. Although many expatriates in Norway may lump the Scandinavian countries together, they have many different customs and, not least, holiday traditions. Johnson has learned a lot the past few weeks about one Norwegian tradition that’s become increasingly elaborate in recent years: the local […]

More Norwegians drop funerals

Increasing numbers of Norwegians are opting against the traditional practice of holding funeral ceremonies when a family member dies. The reasons often are tied to family quarrels, a lack of contact, unwanted attention and the sheer cost of a funeral. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reports that around 10 percent of Norwegians now forego any funeral ceremony. “For […]

Confirmation course to be offered in English

The popular Norwegian rite of passage known as konfirmasjon, tied to confirmation of religious or human values, is now about to be offered in English for those opting for the secular ceremony. Newspaper Aftenposten reports that not only is there demand for an English-language confirmation among expatriate families in Oslo, who want to take part […]

Weddings become big business

This past weekend,  known as Midsummer in Norway, was one of the most popular weekends of the year to get married, at a time when weddings have become a billion-kroner industry. It’s a far cry from the days of simpler country weddings, as romanticized in a classic Norwegian painting.   The trend towards more lavish, professional […]

Norwegians finally consider mausoleums

Population growth and a looming shortage of cemetery space have left Norwegians finally considering a funeral and burial option that’s widespread in many other parts of the world: Mausoleums to house the urns containing ashes of the deceased. They’ve been common in Europe, Asia and the US for years, but Norwegian traditions and even the […]

Easter exodus underway

Norwegian cities started to empty out on Friday, as residents headed into the Easter week and its unusually long string of official days off. Spring skiing in the mountains is the traditional way of spending the Easter holidays, and the royal family is among those moving up to higher elevations. Next Thursday, Friday and Monday […]

Traditions warm chilly holidays

Norwegians were set to celebrate their coldest Christmas holidays in years over the weekend, ironic given all the concerns about global warming of late. It’s as if the Norwegian julenisse (the local equivalent of Santa Claus) wants to help his believers cling to hope and holiday traditions, which take on ritualistic proportions at this time of […]

No turkey, but reason for thanks

COMMENTARY Thursday was Thanksgiving, a major holiday in the US that leaves lots of expatriate Americans homesick and longing for turkey and guilt-free conversation in English. In Norway, the fourth Thursday in November is no holiday, but as this expat has discovered over the years, other things can fill the void. I took the day […]

Bergen tries to forgive holiday vandal

A 20-year-old Bergen man has admitted to being the vandal who destroyed a vast collection of gingerbread houses assembled by thousands of children last weekend. Now his fellow Bergenese are debating what kind of punishment he should receive, while officials suggest they’re ready to forgive and forget. The young vandal claims he was simply drunk. […]