Hunting Easter Bunny Eggs outdoors in Norway

Hunting Easter Bunny Eggs outdoors in Norway #3The history of Easter Egg Hunting is linked to Pagan traditions, has nothing to do with Christianity, but is a beloved event for kids everywhere. In my family it’s for kids of all ages as we’ve done it since I a little boy and still do it – outdoors of course – so it’s also a way to greeting the spring, when winter is retiring and nature is coming out of hibernation. Spring means new life, and in Norway of course literary to be seen when the snow and ice are melting. There you also have the connection to rabbits or hare which have long been a symbol of spring and fertility. Since there will be no Easter Egg Hunt without the Bunny, we must first look at why rabbits are associated with Easter: Known for their prolific procreating, they were the sacred animal of the Saxon goddess of spring and fertility.
Before I reveal how a rabbit laid an egg, let me show and tell you how we do the outdoors hunting in my family. Since we do this every year and I have posted about it before of course, I have plenty of photos from this adventure, and here I’ve put them together to give you an overview:
Hunting Easter Bunny Eggs outdoors in Norway #2
Outdoor recreation goes with my family – especially in weekends and holidays. At Easter every year, the feeling of anticipation and excitement takes me down the memory lane. You may say I’m a bit childish, but I’m just fine with that and it’s important to get in the right spirit – and of course: you have to love being outdoors – sometimes the snow hasn’t even melted yet and then it’s even more cozy to lite the bonfire and grill hotdogs on a stick:
Hunting Easter Bunny Eggs outdoors in Norway #1
Beside the thrill of the Easter egg hunt, this is also about enjoying spring – outdoors – after a dark and cold season. Since settlement of mankind in Norway, thousands of years back, we take advantage of, are celebrating and enjoying the feeling of spring – a significant change in seasons – and therefore an important part of our rituals and habits.
I also once made a movee or a vid about this adventure – be inspired:

The Easter Bunny legend, I’ve heard, started long ago in Germany with an egg-laying hare named “Osterhase”. German children made nests and left them outside for the hare to lay her eggs in. So in America, it was German immigrants who brought their Osterhase tradition to Pennsylvania in the 1700s. The festivity soon spread across the nation, and baskets replaced nests. Eventually, the game evolved into a treasure hunt, and the prizes expanded from just hard-boiled eggs to include chocolate, candy, toys and coins. In many families, the Easter Bunny leaves a basket filled with gifts, while in Norway we have large hallow eggs filled with treats instead.

We are soon on our way to my home town to meet my parents and sisters family for this adventurous tradition. When I post this in advance again this year, it is to give you all the chance to have fun the same way. Have you tried? Or would you like too? If so, here are some of my posts from earlier years:

* Traditional Easter Bunny Egg hunt in Norwegian woods
* Spring Equinox and an Easter Egg hunt
* Hunting Easter Bunny Eggs in snow
* Easter Bunny Eggs Hunt in Norwegian Woods

Santa or Nisse and Smorgasbord food are Christmas traditions in Norway

Nisse or Santa as Christmas Decoration Traditions in Norway #2Yuletide, the return of the sun and now Christmas calls for a special celebration and brings old time traditions based on folklore and myths in Norway. After a long period of darkness and cold, no wonder people needed a break and celebrated with wild feasts the fact that “the sun was coming back”. In Oslo (latitude of 60° North) it means max 6 hours daylight with the sun only low on the horizon at midday, compared to 19 hours and hardly no dark at all at summer solstice. For thousands of years we have developed our food preservation traditions and our folk tales have over time become mixed with other European folklore, like for example Santa Claus.
All of this comes to mind when visiting my parent’s home for the Christmas day smorgasbord. The house is filled with Yuletide spirit with decorations and food traditions which have been in our family for generations. In this post, I will concentrate on the Nisse or Santa and my mom’s homemade food – illustrated with pics from last year’s family gathering on the First Christmas Day. Counting about 15 people, there is always a lot of food left, so join us, sit in and enjoy my childhood’s food feast memories:
Smorgasbord as Christmas Food Traditions in Norway #1 Smorgasbord as Christmas Food Traditions in Norway #7
Left: Ham, Pork Ribs, Tongue, Roast Beef, Lam Roll & Lever Pate – Right: Salmon & Herring
Smorgasbord as Christmas Food Traditions in Norway #6 Smorgasbord as Christmas Food Traditions in Norway #8
Left: Bread & Pork Patties – Right: Cheeses

Remember, all these (except for the cheese), are homemade with fresh meat coming directly from the butcher – made with love and care, based on recipes past on for generations! Just by thinking of it, especially when I enter my parents house this special day, I am literary taken down the memory lane – just by closing my eyes, I remember mom and grandma in the kitchen almost the entire month of December, the smell, the atmosphere, the excitement and the anticipation. There was something in the air – it was Christmas!
If you thought the food and the feast ends here, you are wrong! No, when you are filled up with pork and lamb and ham and…… and maybe had a short walk or a power nap to digest at least a bit, then the special homemade sweets were on the table:
Cookies as Christmas Traditions in Norway
To the right: All kinds of cookies and the Kransekake (Ring Cake)

The Nisse or Tomte:
Nisse or Santa as Christmas Decoration Traditions in Norway #2A Nisse is a mythical creature of Scandinavian folklore originating from Norse paganism – actually close to what we call an elf. He was believed to take care of a farmer’s home and children and protect them from misfortune, in particular at night, when the house folk were asleep – type Fjøs Nisse (Fjøs = barn). Nisse is the common name in Norwegian, Danish and the Scandinavian dialect in southernmost Sweden is Tomte and Tonttu in Finland.
The Nisse was often imagined as a small, elderly man (size varies from a few inches to about half the height of an adult man), often with a full beard; dressed in the everyday clothing of a farmer. However, there are also folktales where he is believed to be a shape-shifter able to take a shape far larger than an adult man, and other tales where the Nisse is believed to have a single, cyclopean eye. Here are some examples of Nisse from my parents home Christmas decorations:
Nisse or Santa as Christmas Decoration Traditions in Norway #5 Nisse or Santa as Christmas Decoration Traditions in Norway #6
Left: My Great Grandmother’s Nisse – Right: My Grandmother’s Nisse Family

The Fjompe Nisse:
Nisse or Santa as Christmas Decoration Traditions in Norway #3I’ve never seen him, but he has been an important part of my memories from Christmas ever since I was a child – especially in preparing, like decorating the tree and house in general. The Fjompenisse was defiantly a shape-shifter type, as he could come in (always at night) through the chimney or even the key hole. He defiantly had a temperament: One year I remember we had forgotten to take out the key from the hole and he had to use the chimney. You could then see his footprints of ash all around the house. The Fjompenisse was clearly a traditionalist too and did not want to be disturbed in his work.
Another of these things that takes me down the memory lane and brings back the Yuletide spirit from childhood when I enter my parents house, are all these Fjumpe Nisse figures hanging around:
Nisse or Santa as Christmas Decoration Traditions in Norway #1 Nisse or Santa as Christmas Decoration Traditions in Norway #4
Left: On top of the paintings – Right: On top of the old family clock from the 18Hundreds

Jule Nisse or the Santa Claus:
In the 1840s the farm’s Nisse became the bearer of Christmas presents in Denmark, and was then called Julenisse (Yule Nisse). This mythical character then turned into the white-bearded, red-capped friendly figure associated with Christmas ever since. Shortly afterwards, and obviously influenced by the emerging Father Christmas traditions as well as the new Danish tradition, a variant of the Nisse, called the Jule Nisse in Norway and Jultomte in Sweden, started bringing the Christmas presents in instead of the traditional Julbock (Yule Goat).

I hope you have enjoyed my reminiscing of my childhood and a walk down memory lane. Christmas Eve is now upon us and its time not only to remember our traditions but to give them to our own children and families. From all of us here to all of you we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!