Holiday caps raise a fuss

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A school in Drammen stirred up a fuss last week when fifth-grade students weren’t allowed to wear the classic Norwegian nisseluer (red stocking caps, often used around the holidays) to a year-end party usually associated with the holiday season. School officials didn’t want to offend those who don’t celebrate Christmas.

Red stocking caps, like those used by these skaters in Oslo, are an important tradition in Norway. PHOTO: John Smith

The officials had also changed the nature of the party, to recognize winter instead of Christmas. Even some parents concede the school probably had the best of intentions, but their plan for a non-Christmas party backfired badly.

“This falls into the category of misunderstood measures where people think they need to tone down Norwegian traditions in meetings with other cultures,” said Hans Olav Syversen of the Christian Democrats party. So great was the outcry following Øren School’s winter party that it sparked criticism from members of parliament.

Among them was Akhtar Chaudhry, vice president of the parliament from the Socialist Left party (SV), who said juletradisjon (Christmas traditions) “is an important part of our common heritage.” It’s unlikely a ban on holiday caps will be attempted again.

Views and News staff