A special Christmas tradition for kindergarten children in Tromsø is the Nissetog (Santa Parade). Over 30 kindergartens in Tromsø gather together in the city’s torget (market square). The energy in the square could light a thousand Christmas trees.
All the children, family and friends, dress as Nisse (a Norwegian Elf). The Nisse come in two varieties Red Nisse and Blue Nisse – Blue Nisse wear blue hats, of course!
The children hold onto long ropes as they march through town singing Christmas songs. (The rope is a nifty idea to make sure that no Nisse get lost along the way – but you sure can’t miss them coming down the street with their reflector vests!) My friend Ola had the honour of leading the parade as he played Christmas songs on his saxophone – just like a Christmas pied-piper.
The Nissetog ends in the old Lutheran Cathedral, where Christmas is duly sung in for the year.