Norwegian Language Blog

julesanger Posted by on Dec 15, 2009 in Culture, Holidays

Christmas songs.  Every year at St. Olaf students from the Norwegian Department put on a norsk julegudstjeneste (Christmas church service), where students will read passages from the Bible på norsk, synge sanger på norsk, and the native Norwegian students tell the congregation about their own familie tradisjoner i Norge.  The following are some of the most popular norske julesangene.  I have included only 1 verse per song so that they don’t take up too much room.  If you would like to see all of the verses, just type the name of the song into a search engine and you will be sure to find it them.

Musevisa (The Mouse Song), which was written in 1946 by Alf Prøysen and is about a family of mice getting ready for Christmas.  Mamma mus warns barna sine (their children) to stay away from the mouse traps.  Sangen (the song) was written to a traditional norsk folk tune.  I have only included the first verse, but there are 7 total, plus a hoax verse about a cat eating the mice (this verse was discovered by 2008-written by Ivar Kalleberg).

Når nettene blir lange og kulda setter inn                        When the nights get long and the cold sets in
da sier vesle musemor til ungeflokken sin:                       so says the small mouse mother to her her flocks
«Hvis ingen går i fella, men passer seg for den                 “if no one goes in the trap, but watches out for it,
skal allesammen snart få feire jul igjen!»                          everyone will soon get to celebrate Christmas

Another very popular norsk julesang, which is religious, is called “Jeg er så glad hver julekveld” (I am so glad each Christmas Eve).  It was written in 1859 by Peder Knudsen.  The following is the first of 7 verses.

Jeg er så glad hver julekveld,                               I am so glad each Christmas Eve
for da ble Jesus født,                                            the night of Jesus birth
da lyste stjernen som en sol,                               then like the sun the star shone forth
og engler sang så søtt.                                         and the angels sang so sweetly.

Another popular sang that many of you have probably heard is “Glade jul” or “Silent Night” (originally a German song)

Glade jul, hellige jul!                                                 Silent night, holy night
Engler daler ned i skjul.                                            Angels sink slowly out of sight
Hit de flyver med paradis grønt,                               They fly here to a green paradise
hvor de ser hva for Gud er skjønt.                             Where they see the beauty of God
Lønnlig i blant oss de går.                                         Secretly among us they go
Lønnlig i blant oss de går.

I have tried to translate the songs as they really translate from Norwegian, but of course they are loose translations from English to Norwegian.  And keep in mind there are several translations for every song and they are sometimes significantly different, so I gave you my versions, how I would translate them.  If you want to hear the songs, you could listen to them on You tube (like everything else, ikke sant?)


Keep learning Norwegian with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: kari

I attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where I majored in Norwegian and History. During college, I spent almost a year living in Oslo, Norway, where I attended the University of Oslo and completed an internship at the United States Embassy. I have worked for Concordia Language Villages as a pre-K Norwegian teacher and have taught an adult Norwegian language class. Right now, I keep up by writing this Norwegian blog for Transparent Language. Please read and share your thoughts! I will be continuing this blog from my future residence in the Norwegian arctic!