5 minutes reading time Norway
Known for its Fjords and picturesque landscape Norway is one of the beautiful countries in the world. This less known, less traveled country in Scandinavia not only has scenic views but has a rich culture. A lot of their customs and traditions originate from Norwegians love for nature and their country.
Bunad is the traditional clothes of Norway. In the past, the attire is worn as formal clothing by the rural folks of Norway. The clothes gain back popularity around the start of the 19th century to show nationalism. Now, Bunad is one of the most important traditional costumes in the world.
There are Bunads for men and women but more Norwegian women invest in Bunads than men. Bunad is commonly designed with a combination of colors from the Norwegian flag – red, indigo blue, and white. What makes the Bunad unique and endearing is the handcrafted embroidery design. One Bunad is painstakingly made for months. The talent and effort to pour in one Bunad make this bespoke attire expensive. An average Bunad can cost you $3,000. Those that cost around $10,000 are those with massive embroidery and perhaps embroidered with gold and silver. The best Bunads are those that are lovingly made by grandmothers that are handed down from one generation to the next.
Bunad is acceptable formal attire in Norway. Some women even wear Bunasd on their wedding day. However, the best time to see a parade of Bunads would have to be on May 17- Norwegian National Day. Everyone goes out to the streets wearing their Bunads while waving the Norwegian flag.
Norway is a sheep country. They say there might be a sheep for one single person living in Norway. Sheep farming flows with the seasons of the year in Norway. During spring and summer, sheep are allowed to roam in the mountains to graze. They eat fresh herbs, newly sprouted grass, and drink fresh water. During this time, there is less supervision from farmers. Autumn is the harvest season. Sheep are herded back to the farm to be sheared for wool, slaughtered for meat, or some sheep will be selected for breeding. Winter to spring will be for tending new lambs.
As sheep are allowed to roam free with less access to inorganic materials they are called the happy sheep. The sheep’s meat is delicious and the wool has better quality.
During autumn until Christmas, the entire country would feast on mutton. The national dish of Norway is Fårikål or mutton stewed in cabbage. In a very large pot, mutton meat is layered with cabbage and generously sprinkled with peppercorn. It is then boiled for hours. Some family has their versions of cooking Fårikål. Some add other spices, some cook for 2 hours but some for 6 hours. Having been boiled for hours, by the time it’s ready to eat, the meat would fall off from the bones. The most important ingredient? This meal should be shared with family and friends.
While most people dread winter and snow, Norwegians look forward to the winter season. The Winter season means skiing, playing in the snow, or visit their winter cabin.
People say that in Norway babies learn to ski before they can walk. That may be an exaggeration but kids do learn to love snow at a very early age. In the wintertime, parents in Norway would prefer pull-sleds or pulk over baby strollers. It is easier just to glide through the snow than push the strollers. And the kids love pulk- it would be the start of their life-long affinity with winter.
In Norway, kids are placed in baby strollers to nap outside. They do this all season including winter. Norwegians believe fresh air is good for health and cold temperature helps with sleeping soundly. Norwegians are experts in winter layering. Kids wear three layers of clothing even for a nap. They are then wrapped with a wool blanket. The pram cover is used in case it’s snowing outside. Lastly, parents would leave the baby radio for when the baby cries.
Norwegian families have mountain cabins. Cabins can be a small wooden shack with no electricity to the most luxurious 5 room cabin with all the amenities. During winter, most visit their cabins every weekend for a quiet cozy time which is more commonly known as koselig. This is also the time when they do a lot of winter outdoor activities like sledding, skiing, or even hiking. Time spent in the cabin is their way to commune with nature and spend quality time with family.
Compared to other countries in Europe and Scandinavia Norway does not have much to offer in terms of big modern buildings and architecture. There is not much indoor activity they can offer to tourists. However, for people who would like to experience a place closely bonded with nature, Norway is the best place to be.
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15 March 2021 6 min. Marike Bredenhann
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