Let’s face it – Halloween is a fairly new celebration in Norway and is still trying to establish itself in Norwegian culture. But Norwegians love to adopt holidays, especially if it’s for the kids or involves food.
The celebration seems to have started with Americans in Norway wanting to keep up their traditions (but stay tuned for tomorrow’s All Hallows Day post). Every year our family celebrates Halloween (and Thanksgiving) with our American friends. We enjoy dressing up, carving pumpkins and scoffing lollies.
I suppose American movies, comics and TV shows have had an influence – and has given Norwegian kids the craving for even more sugar. This year we cut two holes in a white sheet, threw it over Lilu and said she was E.T. All the Norwegians in the room laughed at the reference.
Trick-or-treating is becoming more and more popular every year, but Norwegians are still divided about it. In fact, there is already a similar Norwegian tradition called ‘julebukk’, which takes place around Christmas and is not accompanied by any threats of vandalism. Even though Halloween takes from many cultures, the whole ‘Halloween’ thing is considered to be very American, and it does seem artificial when some kids knock on the door shouting ‘trick or treat’ – in English! There are perfectly good Norwegian translations of the phrase, such as ‘knask eller knep’ or my personal favourite ‘digg eller deng’. The latter is taken from the Norwegian comic strip Nemi as a darker version of the phrase: ‘snack or whack’. Of course, you need to show up at the door with a big bag and a baseball bat to make that phrase appropriate. I have yet to hear anyone actually say it…
Anyway, here’s our own jack-o-lantern: