Some days ago I was sad to read some controversial Norwegian news of a school in the city of Stavanger. There were 2 problems very bad addressed. The first, kids taken to a Christian sermon, regardless their believes. I mean, if this was just a cultural tour to church that’s fine, that can be in a Mosque or Buddhist temple, it wouldn’t matter because that’s about teaching the children about humanity and the existence of a lot of religions. But, as an atheist parent, I would react if my children are taken to a religious ritual as a normal practice. The second problem is probably worse, modifications of some sections of Christmas songs, because they are related to Christianity. Honestly, the songs are about Christmas. And Christmas is part of Norwegian culture. Keep in mind that there’s a large group of Norwegians that are atheist! But for them, it’s not a religious thing even if some songs mix a bit with the history of Jesus.I grew up celebrating Christmas with the arrival of Jesus. At midnight my mom used to give us, me and my sister, the Baby Jesus in porcelain, to complete our manger (where Maria and Joseph had Jesus crib). The turkey and/or pork and the multiple salads were served with hot chocolate, no matter how hot the weather was. That anxiety to see if Santa read our Christmas wishes! Mom always said he was very busy and sometimes had trouble finding the toys we wanted haha. And the fireworks at my grandma’s neighbourhood with a lot of kids… those were our traditions (that I will always look back with some nostalgia). I am glad and I respect that my loved ones still connect Christmas with religion because that has a special meaning to them, which makes them happy. If somebody comes to say to all the Peruvian families that this is offensive, they would feel offended themselves and wouldn’t change anything.My point is, why in Norway we have to tell the kids to replace the term “Christmas” in the songs? Why can’t we just respect Norway’s traditions and let the kids be happy with them? It is very sad that immigration has a lot to do with this. Even worse that Norwegians cannot celebrate their own traditions in their own country. What is it so harmful on a song that cannot be accepted by other groups? I think this is going too far.
I hope the Norwegian Christmas doesn’t change at all. I emigrated from Peru to Norway about 3 years ago, my very first Norwegian Christmas was probably one of the sweetest celebrations I’ve ever had in a very long time. Very different, unique in its own way. For the first time I saw the snow, built a gingerbread house with my hubby, had the aroma of the pine indoors, tasted the secret family recipe of the pinnekjøtt (lam ribs), julebrus (a red soda only available in these holidays), among other delicious treats. But the biggest joy of that celebration was to see the children really enjoying it, dancing and singing the Christmas songs around the tree with the family. Simple, but magic and fun. I just wanted that my future kids feel that same happiness every year.