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Norwegian Christmas Music: Songs for the Season

Christmas in Norway wrapping

Add a Scandinavian touch to your festive celebrations this year with this guide to some of the most popular Christmas songs from Norway.

Christmas music is one of those love it or hate it things. For those who love it, why not add some Norwegian Christmas music into the mix this year?

Not only are these tunes great to put you in the festive mood (and let’s face it, we all need some of that after this year!), they’re also fantastic for learning Norwegian! Just be aware that there are many dialects in Norwegian, and we even include one Swedish song.

In today’s post, we round up some of the most popular traditional Norwegian Christmas music, along with some more contemporary options. This isn’t supposed to be a comprehensive list, rather a taster to give your playlists some variety this Christmas.

Enjoy!

En stjerne skinner i natt

“A Star Shines in the Night” is perhaps the most recognisable festive song on the list.

It was written by Tore W. Aas and Eyvind Skeie, and first recorded by the Oslo Gospel Choir on their album “A Thousand Christmas Lights” in 1992.

Home for Christmas / Jula hjemme

Many festive songs are actually Norwegian translations of songs written in other languages. But this hit song was first written and performed by a Norwegian in English–and now finally has a Norwegian version too.

Maria Mena and Trygve Skaug performed a Norwegian version of the song on P3's Christmas breakfast in 2016, and the response was enormous. This year, they have finally released the Norwegian version of the song.

O helga natt

Nils Bech’s haunting rendition of ‘O Helga Natt’ (Oh Holy Night) is actually Swedish, but we’re including it in this list for one very important reason. It provided the background for one of the best-loved scenes in the season 3 Christmas episode of Norwegian TV hit Skam.

One YouTube comment reads: “favorite scene ever. It broke my heart then mended it back together. The writing. The acting. The editing. The music. Everything about this was utterly perfect.”

O Jul med din glede

Another classic! This sugar-coated song is likely to remind any Norwegian of their childhood. As you’ll see from the video, it’s a kids’ favourite and is often sung around the Christmas tree.

The song dates back to the 19th century and is a modified version of a Swedish folk song.

Glade jul

You’ll certainly recognise this one! Yep it’s a Norwegian version of Silent Night. In this video, Sissel Kyrkjebø and Odd Nordsoga perform the song at Oslo Spektrum in 2009.

Da vet du at det er jul

You may not know that Norwegian comedy siblings Ylvis have a Christmas song! In typical style, not everything is as peaceful and calming as the song makes it sound!

Hey ho

“Hey Ho” by Freddy Kalas is a great example of a song that can help you on your language learning journey. SImply listen along with the words on the video:

The video also features many items related to festive traditions, including references to some popular Norwegian Christmas food and drink!

God jul igjen

I don’t know a great deal about this one, performed by the pop trio No.4. But it’s a catchy number nevertheless!

There is of course loads of Norwegian Christmas music out there. Hopefully this taster gives you something new for your playlist this festive season. God jul!

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1 thought on “Norwegian Christmas Music: Songs for the Season”

  1. Yesterday’s news on NRK had a confusing segment (for me) on the supposed controversy about «Nordnorsk julesalme» which is apparently ‘almost a national Christmas song’ in Nord Norge. Your article prompted me to try and figure out what the supposed controversy is, and after reading about it (at https://www.nrk.no/tromsogfinnmark/tore-andre-gurandsrud-vil-ha-slutt-pa-_nordnorsk-julesalme_-_-mener-den-ikke-er-oss-i-2020-1.15298464), I’m still not sure but I think the dude with the double glasses is complaining about the song somehow implying that eveyrthing isn’t great in the land. Or the opposite, he’s complaining about it complaining. Maybe. Dang, that song really hasn’t helped me learn Wigian! But, it’s mosdef typisk norsk not to complain, imho, but my mind is now extra Christmas frazzled. Hurrah! God jul ;D

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