Alexander Rybak with the Norwegian Christmas song “Romjulsdrøm”.
On little Christmas Eve Alexander performed his favourite Norwegian Christmas song on the Norwegian Christmas TV-show “Kvelden før Kvelden” on NRK. The song is a well-known Norwegian Christmas song by Alf Prøysen. The lyrics are in dialect and Alexander sings it very well. Alexander has uploaded the performance on YouTube for everyone to enjoy 🙂
Alexander has performed “Romjulsdrøm” many times, and here is a video of him singing the song only using his violin as a guitar when he promoted “Swinging Home for Christmas” on “God Morgen Norge” in 2010.
And what exactly is “Romjul”?
The Romjul starts on the 26th and lasts until the 13th day of Christmas, which is January 6th. Many mark the 20th day as the end of Christmas. Then the Christmas tree will be taken down.
– The word “romjul” comes from Norse “rumheilagr”. That is the period that due to the “law” doesn’t need to be kept strictly holy, says conservator at the Norwegian Folk Museum, Geir Thomas Risåsen, who calls himself “Christmas conservator” in November and December.
The first paragraph of the word, “rom”, is used with the meaning “free, unbound by law”. Traditionally, the Romjul is the loose and popular part of the Christmas celebration when the religious duties are done.
“Julebukking” (go julebukk) is a Scandinavian Christmas tradition.where people wearing masks and costumes (Julebukker) go door to door, where neighbors receiving them attempt to identify who is under the disguise. After singing Christmas songs, they are usually awarded with candy.
– Julebukk is mentioned as far back as in the 16th century in Norway, but the origin is unknown. Today the tradition is kept up by children dressed as gnomes.
Historically, it was primarily the adults who walked, and one of the family had goat mask and goat or sheep skin. The purpose was to scare a little, which has to do with people’s belief about the creepy forces in circulation in the time around Christmas.
In the 19th century, the actual julebukk ( goat) disappears, but one continues to dress in homemade masks. The Julebukk should be unrecognisable, and those who got a visit should get some excitement, says Risåsen.
Another Norwegian tradition in Romjul
The many Christmas tree parties for children are also held in Romjul, mostly after New Year. Children walk around the Christmas tree and sing Christmas songs and get small packages with fruit, cakes and candies from Santa. You can watch an example of this Norwegian tradition HERE
This post is also available in Deutsch.