Barneblad: Bring on the fun & ring in the New Year!
A monthly feature to share with kids and grandkids
Brought to you by Lori Ann Reinhall
Around the world, New Year’s Eve brings grown-ups together everywhere with elaborate parties and celebrations, but with the right planning, it can also be a great time for families to come together.
In Norway, there are a many old beliefs around Nyttårsaften. Did you know that if New Year’s Eve was cold and rainy in Norway, you might expect a cold July? On the contrary, if you could see a lot of stars in the sky, it would be a good year for cloudberries. There was even an old folk belief that if you poured an egg white into a cup of water, it would turn into the image of the house where you would someday live.
Today, we no longer believe in these superstitions, but many of the things we do on New Year’s Eve go back to the old beliefs. For example, we blow horns and bang on pots and pans at midnight to scare off evil spirits to keep them out of the coming year. Today we set off fireworks and throw confetti, as the holiday has become more colorful over time.
You can carry on these traditions as a family. Here a few ideas to make this one of the best holidays of the entire year:
eat special food
• In Norway it is popular to eat pinnekjøtt (lamb ribs), ribbe (roast pork belly), and turkey. What can be fun is for kids to help make the dessert, be it cookies, cake, pudding, or whatever your fancy may be—we recommend something norsk, of course!
decorate the table
• It is fun to buy or cut up confetti, which can be used as part of the décor (but be sure to save some to throw at midnight).
take a walk
• If you are out in the countryside and weather permits, take a walk and count the stars. We can’t guarantee the cloudberries, but it can be a fun game to play with each other.
• In the city, New Year’s Eve is a time to get dressed up. Put on your best party clothes, or buy or make special party hats and masks. Whatever you do, this is a perfect time to take a family photo together to send to friends and relatives. If your grandparents—bestefar and bestemor—aren’t there with you, they will definitely want a copy.
play a game
• New Year’s Eve is long, so you will need some special entertainment to pass that time. Why not get out your favorite board games, or ask an adult to put on a good age-appropriate movie for you?
• One must-have is kids’ crackers: they’re decorative, fun to make, and fun to open. You will need some empty toilet paper rolls, leftover wrapping paper scraps (cut them to 7 x 12 inches), some ribbon, and some candy or other goodies. Put some goodies in each toilet paper roll. Wrap some paper around it, leaving extra paper on each end, and tie ribbons around the ends.
• Yes, it’s time for New Year’s resolutions; the things that you intend to do better in the coming year. Maybe you will try to do you your homework before dinnertime, or keep your room nice and tidy. It’s important to be realistic: set a couple of goals you know you can reach.
make some noise
• The magic moment is midnight. Depending where you are, the family may want to gather to watch fireworks, either outside or on TV. When the hour comes, it’s time to start blowing those horns, throwing confetti, and banging on pots and pans. It also a great time to exchange a hug and kiss with those you love.
leap into the year
• For the little ones, there’s also a new New Year’s tradition that’s a lot of fun. Everyone can take their place on a sofa, and when the clock strikes 12, hop off together to leap into the New Year.
say it in Norwegian
• Finally, to celebrate your Norwegian heritage, say it loud and clear: Godt nyttår! — Happy New Year!
This article originally appeared in the December 28, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.