Wedding celebrations in Norway last from two to four days, sometimes even up to a week! They started to celebrate this wonderful event long before that. Once the parties agreed on the engagement, it was immediately followed by a feast.
By the way, the feast is often followed by a married life, the so-called engagement season. The groom gave the bride gifts that were guarantee of seriousness of his intentions. These gifts, regardless of whether there was a wedding after that or not, were considered the personal property of the bride. But it was a difficult period for the bride: before the wedding she had to knit socks and mittens as a gift to all members of the groom’s relatives. By the way, it was the only dowry that was given to the girl: the majority of Norwegian parents considered a beautiful and hard-working daughter the most expensive gift.
In the morning of the appointed day, the groom’s entourage drove up to the house of the bride. Father of the bride gave a cup of beer to the groom, from which the groom should take a sip. Then, the groom had to obtain the consent of parents again to marry his fiancée, and after that – the consent of all her relatives. Usually the groom gave small gifts.
Only after the relatives of the bride received gifts, and sometimes after the bride price, fiancée appeared on the doorstep. Often the bride was not dressed in white, she wore a traditional hand-made folk costume. During the whole wedding, the bride feel very uncomfortable, because had to wear a massive silver crown on her head (now it is replaced with a lighter crown) – This crown will be kept by the wife all her life.
Then the bride should take a sip of beer, confirming that they would divide everything in two. Then, everything’s ready for the wedding! Important point: in the church or municipality, the future spouses must provide a certificate confirming the fact that nothing prevents them from getting married in Norway.
Only close relatives of newlyweds go to the church or municipality. All the guests were invited into the house, where the young was to live. There they waited for honeymooners, eating and dancing.
On the threshold, newlyweds were showered rye and barley, and the bride had to catch the grains. The more she caught, the richer and happier the family life will be.
Up to 300 people are usually gathered at the wedding party! Of course, it is very difficult for two families, therefore all the relatives and even neighbors take part in the organization of the holiday. A Norwegian will even offended if neighbor arranging the wedding did not borrow his chairs or dishes, or ask to help him.
By the way, such a celebration of the wedding is held because the Norwegians do not like to … register relationship. Even though most young people are happy to start a life together, as soon as they feel that they are happy with each other. Therefore, if the wedding did take place, they try to make it as lush and memorable as possible.
Couples often get married after many years of life together (and sometimes just a few months before the divorce). Therefore, no one in Norway will be surprised at the scene in the church when an adult son leads his mom to the altar.
What do Norwegians shout, making the newlyweds kiss? They make the newlyweds stand on a chair, so that everyone could see them. The couple got the gifts for the duration of the kiss. The more expensive the gift was, the longer the guest could make honeymooners stand on a chair.
The traditional drink at Norwegian wedding is beer. Extra chic if the beer was brewed by the bride a couple of weeks before the wedding, but it happened very rarely. Among strong drinks at modern Norwegian wedding, one can see vodka. They drink a lot at the wedding. Locals joke that they should give beer to cows at the wedding, so everyone was drunk and was lowing something in honor of the bride and groom.
The principal meal at the Norwegian wedding was “the bride’s porridge”, which was made of wheat flour and cream. There are almost obligatory dishes at Norwegian wedding: baked salmon and cod tongues, venison and salt-cured lamb chops, which are steamed. “Sodd” was also very popular – a vegetable soup with lamb meatballs. For dessert – a Russian analogue of “wedding cakes”, pancakes with sweet fillings.
At the end of the feast, “bride’s cheese” was served. The bride had to come to each guest and give a piece of cheese to everyone. Usually those were sliced cheese, soaked in honey and sprinkled with nuts. This was not only a delicious dessert, but it was also more than a hint of the end of the event. After the bride had left the hall with an empty tray, the guests began to go home.
The bride and the groom went into the bedroom for a “sweet night”. According to the tradition, the husband gave his wife a gift in the morning after the wedding night, usually jewelry with diamonds and gold.