I am second generation Norwegian American and I feel very fortunate to have a lot of Norwegian traditions and culture in my life. My Bestemor (grandma in Norwegian) and her family came here after World War II without knowing any English. Of course, the language barrier was hard to navigate at first because while there are many different people in America, it is extremely hard to go about daily tasks without knowing English, but my grandmother ended up winning a spelling bee after being here for only six months. My grandmother is one of my biggest role models and I’m happy she shared her culture with us. While we as a family don’t speak much Norwegian, we still try to honor many of the traditions they have there.
Most of our traditions revolve around Christmas time. In Norway, the julenisse (Norwegian version of Santa Claus) bring the kids their presents on December 24th rather than December 25th and that is how we celebrate it. During Christmas time, my family always puts julenisse statues in our windows and we have a big Norwegian dinner wearing our lusekofte (traditional Norwegian sweater) and nisse luer (“Santa” hats) on December 24th before we open our presents at night. Of course, there were some Christmases we celebrated on the 25th and when this would happen we would have Norwegian breakfast which included knäckbröd (kind of cracker), lefse (potato flatbread), brunost (brown cheese), eggs, and meats. Norwegian breakfast is in general some of my favorite food of all time and I love when I get to go to have it. Like my grandmother passed down these traditions and culture to us, now I get to share this culture with my friends who do not know much about Norway.