I’ve learned something interesting today. In Northern Europe we call this holliday season ‘Jul’ and now I know the reason why. It might fill out some missing links in you’re childhood memories as well, so I decided to share it with you all.
Let’s start with a description of Christmas in Norway I found on the net:
Christmas in Norway by Bill Egan, Christmas Historian
Norway is in Northern Europe, bordering the North Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Sweden.
Norway is the birthplace of the Yule log. The ancient Norse used the Yule log in their celebration of the return of the sun at the time of the Winter Solstice. “Yule” came from the Norse word hweol, meaning wheel. The Norse believed that the sun was a great wheel of fire that rolled towards and then away from the earth.
The Norse Yule log is most likely responsible for the popularity of log-shaped cheese, cakes, and desserts that are served in numerous nations during the holidays.
On Christmas Eve it is customary to visit the gravesites of departed family members and place candles on the graves.
On December 24, all work comes to a halt late in the afternoon. Everyone puts on their finest clothes to greet the season and the largest sheaf of grain is hung out for the birds to make their Christmas merry, too. Christmas Eve dinner begins with rice porridge which contains one lucky almond. A bowl is also set out for the barn elf so that he will continue to watch over the animals and not turn mischievous. A Christmas pig provides most of the meat dishes.
The worldwide popularity of Santa Claus has caused the resurrection of an ancient Norse figure called Julesvenn. In ancient times he would come during the feast of Jul to hide lucky barley stalks around the house. Now, called Julnissen, he has multiplied into a group of gnomes who come on Christmas Eve to bring gifts to good children.
A Julebukk made of straw is a very popular Christmas decoration. It is named for the goat that drew the cart of Thor, the god of thunder in Norse mythology.
But the back to the original season celebration:
The Yule Log – A Pagan Tradition
To celebrate their belief in the powers of the gods, the Norsemen (Vikings) held festivals. The father of the Gods was Odin or Thor, commonly called the Yule Father (Yule referred to the sun). The original Yule Log Ceremony was a festival celebrating the sun during the winter solstice, which occurs close to the time we celebrate Christmas today. After the Norman invasion of England in 1066, the Yule Log tradition was passed on to the British and evolved to the tradition that it is today.
Other Anglo-Saxon traditions include celebrating good health in the New Year by drinking from the wine-and-spice-filled Wassail bowl; baking Yule dough into figures shaped like people, with raisins for eyes and noses, to symbolize Christ (these Yule Dough people are where today’s gingerbread men came from); burning a Yule Candle, which was big enough to burn for the 12 days of Christmas; and hanging a sprig of mistletoe for fertility and romance.
Here you see Yule Log as Christmas decorations, or a choir – my sister’s speciality!
Here is another blogger writing about the Yule Log Ceremony.
There is more between heaven and earth than most other places!
I attended an early morning business network meeting today. On my way to the office afterwards I met this wonderful view in the horizon behind Akershus Fortress in Oslo. Another wonderful picture of blended sky on fire and of course I had to use my mobile phone to capture the phenomena. The town was quietly waking up to the 13th day of Advent and not only the anticipation for Christmas, but also the atmosphere was smoothly electrifying. The fortress is built on a hill in front of Oslo’s harbour; build in the 12th century to protect the capital of Norway. At the bay you can see some sailing ships still in use for tourists and sight seeing on the Oslo fjord and for learning new recruits to sail ships for the Norwegian fleet. You can also have one or two weeks manoeuvre as a civilian if you dare to climb the 160 feet high masts in storming weather. You’re welcome :-)
At the dock you can also see a fisher man offering his last night catch of fresh delicacies from the Oslo Fjord. Today it was cod, cat fish, flounder, shrimps and crabs. I was thinking I am glad I have an ordinary office job and don’t have to go out in the middle of a winter night to earn my living. Never the less, I love fishing and make my own sea food meals, but normally at holidays in the summer time.
With this wonderful and colourful experience as a great start to the day, I went to work thinking of how lucky I am being alive and able to capture a glance of this atmospherical sensation. It’s soon the darkest day of the year (the sun turns at the 23rd of December) but if you take notice, there are wonderful moments to catch. I count my blessings and am glad I can share some with you.
For you who would like to know more about this Akershus Fortress, you can take a look here!
If you like to know more about one of the ships: Norways Grandest Sailing Ambassador, look here!
Inspired of the wonderful, sunny weather me and my wife had a trip to the famous Vigeland Park in Oslo today. We love this opportunity to a quality time together, walking around in inspirational surroundings and share thoughts from the bottom of our hearts. We are there – intensively together and deeply involved in reaching the others meaning – the time stands still, and the conversation is rinsing our minds. The thoughts we shared are of course private, but I’ll gladly share the park with you!
I make Mr. Wonka – pasted from the web – who visited the Park in December 2003, mine: “The 212 naked bodies sculpted of bronze and granite in Vigelandsparken by Gustav Vigeland is not quite as erotic as you might think. In fact, the cycles of life these sculptures depict are anything but sexual. Okay, everyone takes away his or her own personal observations and thoughts about Vigeland’s mind-boggling collection of work. But that’s what makes a visit to the park a requisite for any visit to Oslo. No one opinion about what you’ll see here is right or wrong—it’s all about personal interpretation.”
As you can see from the pics Vigeland is describing peoples natural feelings in every details as they coddles together in varies life time situations. So alive, yet in stone, they are expressively inspiring the soul of mankind. It says you can have private, intimate and stimulating conversations on a golf curse. I would say Vigeland Parks invites in the same kind of atmosphere.
Speaking about inspirational talk: You can tell this wise man is telling his history to a well listening audience. The mature man is sharing his knowledge and experience in life in a trustful and open-minded way I would say. Looking at those people – and it is “only” a sculpture – you see and feel how they all in an expressional way enjoy the lecture.
The Park is very much alive and friendly, full of people even on a relatively cold day in November. A lot of tourists from all over the world it is easy to hear, as the native tongues expression are from all parts of the world. Colourful contributions as a pleasure for you’re ears as well as eyes are making the walk around a wonderful experience each and every day you are visiting.
You will find more information about Vigeland and the park here. And of course you are welcome to take a round tour any time when you are visiting the capital of Norway!
Today I learned about the mysterius word: Terella – A model of the Earth designed to illustrate the magnetic field. From the net I found this about the phenomeno:
Electromagnetic waves led to radio and television, and to a huge electronic industry. But they are also generated in space – by unstable electron beams in the magnetosphere, as well as at the Sun and in the far-away universe, telling us about energetic particles in distant space, or else teasing us with unresolved mysteries.
In Norway, aspecially on a clear winter night, you can easely see this in the Northern Lights, described as: “Of all naturally occuring heavenly phenomena, few come close to a night with a magnificent northern lights display. Flickering curtains of dancing light against the dark skies, northern lights is certainly one of the most spectacular of nature’s phenomena.” See a wonderful picture of this in the links in this article below!
And of course there was a Norwegian who started the surch of this phenomena: “Birkeland published the first realistic theory of the northern lights, the main point being that electrically charged particles ejected from the sun are captured by Earth’s magnetic field and directed towards the polar atmosphere. To prove his theory, Birkeland performed his famous “Terella” experiment, where he artificially created the aurora – and by doing so he amazed the entire scientific community.” Copied from the linked site of this article.
Update – links:
Nother Lights – about Birkeland and his Terella,
Wikipedia about Terrella and
about William Gilbert, Terrella inventor in the 15 sentury.
Welcome to Norway to experience this magic yourself!