Childhood memories from Christmas in Nusfjord

November 16, 2021

Skjermbilde 2023-10-07 kl. 14.59.40

Christmas is near, and as we are preparing for this year’s celebration, we have had a chat with Lillian and Mariann, who live in Nusfjord, to learn more about how Christmas was celebrated in their childhood.

The earliest settlements in Nusfjord dates back to 425 BC. Our unique cultural heritage makes the village one of Norway’s oldest and best-preserved fishing destinations, with a long-standing tradition of seasonal cod fishing. In the ‘golden age’ of Nusfjord, over one thousand people inhabited the village center, but today only nineteen people can call Nusfjord their permanent home.

Lillian and Mariann are two of those nineteen people and have lived in Nusfjord all their lives. And we are lucky to have gathered a story from their childhood on how they and all the other people in Nusfjord prepared and celebrated Christmas.

«Everyone was looking forward to Christmas in Nusfjord, both big and small. In December, a grey paper appeared on the windows of the country store, all the children desperately tried to look in, but it was useless.

Finally, when they removed the paper, everyone came to the country store to see. Christmas decorations, angel hair, confectionery, Christmas boxes with anchovies, coloring books, and harmonicas appeared in the window. And fruit! Oranges, apples, and bananas were only sold when it was Christmas, and it was great fun.

There were no spruce trees before in Lofoten, so «Karoline» hunted for the landowner, took the trip to Namsskogan, where the landowner owned forest. A couple of days before Christmas, Karoline docked in Nusfjord, and then it was time to get a Christmas tree before they got sold out.

Laila, Solveig and Grethe celebrating Christmas in Rorbu 29

Then came Christmas Eve. The trees were decorated with homemade Christmas decorations, angel hair, and small Christmas candles that they had bought at the country store. Everyone ate lutefisk, which the fishermen had fished in the winter, during Lofoten fishing. Lutefisk is made from stockfish, which after six days in water, was cured with lye made of birch ash. When it has soaked for two days, it is toxic. In order for it to be edible, it had to be soaked again for many days.


In the afternoon, the Homeowner arranged two workers to dress up as elves and equipped them with a sack filled with oranges and apples. They went around to everyone who lived in Nusfjord and handed the fruit out. Then finally, the Christmas peace could sink in Nusfjord».


EN | Norwegian