Halloween, although originally an American tradition, has effectively made its way into Norwegian culture. Here’s all you need to know about the spooky celebration and its significance in Norway.
Halloween, or “Allehelgensdag” in Norwegian, was originally a way to mark the end of summer and the beginning of winter.
One variant of the holiday is thought to have originated in Ireland over 2,000 years ago. The Celts who lived there at the time believed that on the night of October 31, the line between living and dead was blurred and ghosts of the deceased would return to earth.
Much later, the tradition made its way to America where it took on a life of its own. It was in the US that Halloween as many people today know it originated, with carved pumpkins, trick or treat, and fancy dress costumes.
Halloween in Norway
Long considered an American phenomenon, gone are the days where Halloween is reserved exclusively for those across the pond.
It is estimated that the Halloween celebration gained traction in Norway around the year 2000 due an increasing exposure to American culture, with movies, TV shows, and books seemingly being the main influences.
If you walk down any Norwegian street on October 31, chances are that you will see children in costumes going from door to door uttering the phrase “knask eller knep” – Norwegian for “trick or treat.” It is common for the children to receive candy for their efforts. However, you will rarely see tricks being performed.
For adults, it is common to attend Halloween parties where fancy dress costumes are mandatory. Bars and nightclubs will also arrange Halloween themed nights to celebrate the spooky evening.
You might also see a pumpkin or two outside some Norwegian homes, although there is still a long way to go until the Halloween decorations reach US standards.
Evidently, although not as extravagant as the American celebration (at least yet!), Norwegians sure do know how to celebrate Halloween in their own way.
Considering how much the phenomenon has intensified in Norway in recent years, it is not unreasonable to expect that the celebration will only continue to gain traction amongst its Nordic fans in the coming years!
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