December is fast approaching, and the last month of the year is filled with activities creating the Christmas spirit. Experience the ginger snap city, festival of light, Christmas Shopping Street, lighting of huge advent lights and sledging down Mount Fløyen.
Bergen is famous for the gingerbread town made every year. Kindergartens, Schools and also private persons send their contribution of gingerbread houses to the miniature city of Bergen. The exhibition can be seen the entire month of December.
Festival of light 28th November
Bergens Tidende (local newspaper) invites to concert, torchlight procession, carolling, and fireworks in the city centre. The ''Lysfesten'' festival takes place by Lille Lungårdsvann and starts at 4 pm on Saturday 28th November.
Advent lights at Mount Fløyen
It is a tradition with advent lights on the top of Mount Fløyen. These are lighted on the four advent Sundays at 13.00, followed by short prayers, carol singing and music. The lights are so big they can be seen from different parts of Bergen.
Sledging down Mount Fløyen
For those who enjoy speed and excitement, we can recommend sledging down Mount Fløyen! Sledges can be purchased from toy stores and sport shops. Fløibanen offers a one-day ''sledge-card'' at NOK 175 for adults and NOK 90 for children. The card is valid from early morning to late at night. The tracks are fully lit up at night. Why not have a cup of hot chocolate on the top of Mount Fløyen in between the rides?
There are several Christmas concerts during this period. For an overview, please see www.visitBergen.com/events.
Local Christmas traditions
The Christmas tree is decorated on the evening of 23rd of December. When decorated, all gifts are placed under the tree. On Christmas Eve before dinner, one usually visits former family members’ graves, placing flowers and candles.
The presents are to be opened on Christmas Eve after dinner. Santa Claus is also a part of our Christmas traditions. He is a jolly, fat old man with white hair and beard, wearing a red suit and big black boots. He rides a sleigh pulled by reindeers and slides down chimneys to deliver presents on the night of 23rd of December. We also have a goblin (''fjøsnisse'') as part of our older tradition. He is a very small (almost dwarfish) man who looks quite like Santa Claus. He lives in the barn where he gets porridge for Christmas dinner as thanks for looking after the barn and the animals.
''Pinnekjøtt'' vs. ''Svineribbe''
Christmas dinner in Bergen consist of ''PINNEKJØTT'', which is dried ribs of lamb served with potatoes and rutabaga. The ribs are to be put in water the previous night and steamed for approx. 4 hours. In the Eastern parts of Norway they serve ''SVINERIBBE'' which is ribs of pork served with potatoes and sauerkraut. The meat is to be baked in the oven for a few hours until the fat is crispy. In older times people in the Bergen area ate ''PERSETORSK'', a special course with cod as main ingredient.
Julehuset Christmas Shop (Audhild Vikens Vevstove) All-year Christmas-shop with a large selection of the typical Norwegian Santa Claus called ''nisse''.
Christmas shopping in Bergen
The main street Strandgaten transforms into a Christmas Shopping Street the first day of December, delicately decorated. The lights will be ignited, fun entertainment, and very good shopping offers. Decorated shops and cosy Christmas atmosphere in streets and narrow alleyways makes Christmas shopping a unique experience in Bergen! At Torgalmenningen, the Christmas tree is lit the first day of advent.
From 10th till 23rd of December most stores are open during the following hours:
Weekdays: Open until 8pm (shopping centers until 9pm)
Saturdays: Open until 6pm
Sundays: Open from 2pm until 7pm
Christmas Eve: Open until 1 pm (deviations may occur)
Christmas Day and Boxing Day: closed
New Year's Eve: Open until 4pm (deviations may occur)