Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Norway in Winter: Festivals, Events, Markets

In winter, life in Norway can be very busy with numerous events and thousands of people actively involved and having the time of their lives! 

Norway in winter


The Royal Family and the elite of the Norwegian society gather annually on December 10 in Oslo Town Hall for the Nobel Peace Prize Award ceremony. The Nobel Peace Prize Laureates receive their Nobel Peace Prize from the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee in the presence of King Harald V of Norway. An important part is the presentation of the Nobel Lectures by the Nobel Laureates. The lectures are delivered during the Ceremony. The event is broadcast live on TV. Next day there is a concert open for all at the Oslo Spektrum concert hall. 


From the end of November and until the Christmas Eve, fairs are held in many towns and villages of Norway. Christmas markets in Norway are not as grand as elsewhere in Europe, but they seem to have a nicer feel to them. Perhaps it’s the cold but they are almost always less crowded, more family-friendly and offer a nice selection of products from local artisans. One of the most famous is the open-air market at the Folk Museum on Bygdøy, Oslo, with approximately 120 fair tents selling virtually everything from handicrafts and holiday decorations to traditional Christmas food. 

Røros Market, Norway


For five days in February, Røros Fair transforms the city of Røros into a lively marketplace bubbling with foods, dance halls, rest farms, and raffles. Røros, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has played host to its fair since 1854, allowing visitors to step back in time with traditional draws. Attracting 75,000 visitors annually, this fest is one of the largest in the region. Here you can sample some local fare, see how old-fashioned crafts were performed or go on a sleigh ride. 


Bergen has the world’s largest and finest gingerbread town. Every year since kindergartens, schools, businesses and thousands of individuals of Bergen bring their homemade ginger cookies to the city’s main square Sentralbadet as a building material. 

Gingerbread town, Bergen


The name Drekkedagsnatta means “Drunk Night”. The history of Drekkedagsnatta traces back to the 1600s, when the miners spent long days deep in the mines for nearly the entire year. On December 22, they emerged from the mines for Christmas holidays and marched to the town center, torches in hand. From far away the procession resembled a giant snake slithering down the mountain. In the city center, the miners communed with family and friends, enjoyed wine and partied – and to this day, a national celebration takes place as the people of Kongsberg march down from the mine hills to commemorate their ancestors. 


Ice climbing refers to roped and protected climbing of features such as icefalls, frozen waterfalls, and rock slabs covered with ice refrozen from flows of water. Rjukan boasts the world's tightest concentration of frozen waterfalls (more than 170 within a radius of 20 km), making it the perfect place for such a festival. Top athletes from all over the world come to Rjukan to climb on the waterfalls, showing the locals and visiting ice climbers the newest techniques and equipment used in the ice climbing game. Participants, from beginners to professional climbers, have a unique chance to climb up the frozen waterfall with a guide. 

Ice climbing festival in Rjukan


The event established in 1991 is the largest film festival in Norway. Its program includes more than 300 films from all over the world: documentaries and short films from the region are shown together with feature-length movies by big international names, as well as up-and-coming talent. Some of them can be seen outside, on a big screen set up on Tromsø's main square. 

Tromsø International Film Festival


This is the world’s most northern music festival with a promising slogan “Cool place, hot music”. It attracts Norway’s best jazz performers and well-known musicians. The music during Polarjazz is eclectic mix of musical experiences during the polar night. 


It is a festival of alternative music, but everything is made of ice and snow: the scene and even musical instruments. The program is based on the nature itself starting from the date (the festival takes place at the first full moon of the year) and finishing with the music (the quality of the ice depends on the weather conditions, so the sound varies with the temperature). 

Ice Music Festival In Geilo


Another music festival, first established in 1988. It offers world-class opera, jazz, chamber music, symphonic concerts, choir, dance and much more. Over the past two decades, the festival has had an interesting mixture of top quality performances, including many by artists from the North. 

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