School in Norway
In Norway all children go to school together for ten years. So there is no division at this time. The children start school when they are 5 or 6 years old. The children go to primary school, the Barneskole, for seven years, followed by a secondary school for three years. Most students then go to school for another three years to graduate from high school.
Norwegian and other subjects
In addition to subjects such as math, history, geography, sports and art, Norwegian students also have lessons in Norwegian (like you do in German) and English, which is taught from 1st grade. There is also food and health as a subject. A second foreign language is added in the 8th grade. Mostly German, Spanish or French are chosen.
Whew, a 6!
Grades are only given from the 8th grade. The grades go from 1 to 6 – but be careful: 6 is the best grade here, 1 is the worst! The school year starts in mid-August and ends next June. There are two school semesters.
Who are the Russ?
Anyone who has graduated from high school is now a Russ. All Russ girls and Russ boys show this by wearing certain hats. There are also many Russian celebrations. They culminate on May 17th, the national holiday. Often there is a children’s move followed by a Russian move. One differentiates between red russet (rødruss) and blue russet (blåruss) by the color of their clothes. The Rotruss graduated from high school, the Blauruss from a commercial high school. In addition, each Russ has its own business card. Russian cars that are painted red or blue are also part of the tradition. Check anycountyprivateschools to see schooling information in other European countries.
By the way, the word Russ has nothing to do with Russia, but originally means “to throw off one’s horns”. This in turn has to do with the fact that new students in Copenhagen (where the Norwegians had to study for a long time because they did not have their own university) were given a horn that they could drop off when they had passed their Abitur.
What are the names of Norwegian children?
Girls who are born in Norway are often called Nora, Emma, Sophie, Linea, Sarah, Emilie, Ingrid, Thea or Lea. Some names are common here too, others like Ingrid or Thea hardly ever. It’s similar with boys’ names. Here parents often name their sons Lukas, Emil, Mathias, Jonas, Alexander, William, Oskar, Magnus and Markus.
And the last names? The most common surname in Norway is Hansen. Originally this meant “son of Hans”. This is how surnames were assigned until 1901, but surnames have been inherited since then. The -sen is still recognizable in many surnames. Incidentally, one daughter added -datter, the word for daughter. Other common surnames in Norway are Johansen, Olsen, Larsen, Andersen, Nilsen, Pedersen, Kristiansen and Jensen.
Incidentally, many Norwegians still have a middle name, the Mellomnavn. This is a name that cannot be a first name. An Einar Björn Magnusson has no middle name, but two first names. With Ole Fosnes Hansen, however, Fosnes is the middle name. The middle name is usually the mother’s last name.
How do children live in Norway?
Norway is considered a particularly family and child-friendly country. Children in Norway often go to kindergarten as early as one year. They will then have the right to a place and most mothers will start working again. The children are usually looked after until the afternoon and not just half a day. Because children and work are easy to combine in Norway, you probably have more children in Norway than in most other European countries.
Norwegian children also enjoy playing on the computer or watching TV in their free time. So it’s good that they learn English from the first grade, because many programs from abroad are not translated at all. You watch cartoons or movies in English.
Winter in Norway is quite long and quite cold. No wonder that many Norwegians practice winter sports. Most Norwegian children learn to ski. But of course they also like to bathe in summer!
Christmas in Norway
How do you celebrate Christmas in Norway?
There are various customs associated with Christmas in Norway. In the Advent season it starts with an advent calendar that is also familiar here. Traditionally, an orange is peppered with 24 cloves. Then one is removed every day until Christmas Eve.
On December 13th, the Lucia Festival, which actually comes from Sweden, is celebrated in many places. The Lucia girl and her entourage wander through the dark rooms of the kindergartens and schools with candles on their heads in the morning. They hand out Lucia pastries and sing Lucia songs. Traditionally, seven types of Christmas cookies are baked in the Advent season.
The evening of December 23rd is referred to here as Lille Julaften, which means little Christmas Eve. Usually the parents decorate the Christmas tree after the children have gone to bed. Then comes Christmas Eve, the Julaften. The presents are under the tree. According to the old custom, you then go around the Christmas tree. All of them hold hands, walk around the tree and sing Christmas carols. By the way, you do this not only at home, but also in the Advent season, for example in clubs or in schools. They celebrate the Juletrefest, the Christmas tree festival.
Traditional dishes at Julaften are svineribbe (ribs), pinnekjøtt (cured lamb rib) or lutefisk (pickled stockfish). Children get julebrus, a red lemonade, to drink. For dessert there is rice pudding with a hidden almond in it. If you find it, you will get a little present! Often this is a small marzipan pig.
Santa Claus is more of a leprechaun in Norway. His name is Julenissen. He also gets something to eat. You put a bowl of rice pudding in front of your door or in the attic. He should be satisfied so that he doesn’t play tricks on the family and of course brings a lot of presents! God Jul! That means Merry Christmas!