Students and their traditions
Christmas traditions vary from student to student.
Christmas is just around the corner, and the students are running from exams to Christmas parties all around Bergen.
But what are their Christmas thoughts, feelings and customs?
To this end, Studvest took it to the pedestrian zones of Bergen and asked people a few Christmas-related and sometimes funny questions.
In front of the Student Centre we meet Zoran Sargac. He comes from Croatia, has made a trip through Europe and is currently studying in Bergen. We begin with an amusing and international anecdote about Christmas dinner traditions.
– In Japan people eat at KFC at christmas. What do you have on your table on Christmas eve?
– Amazing – but if they want to eat at KFC it’s their choice. I don’t really have preferences for eating. In Croatia you eat more meat in the interior of the country, along the coast it’s more fish. In general every region has their own traditional dishes, he says.
We walk on and meet the students Lucas Reeves and Brede Sperre on the Johanneskirketrappene.
We tell them about «pukeko in a ponga tree», a New Zealand Christmas song, and ask about what their favorite piece of Christmas music is.
– Well, it’s probably Mariah Carey, the famous one! «All I Want For Christmas Is You», says Lucas Reeves.
– For me it’s probably the soundtrack from «Jul i blåfjell», a Norwegian TV show, Brede Sperre says.
Pål Thrana Jensen, a student of Norwegian literature, originally from Oslo, and his family has an interesting take on holiday decorations.
– The Christmas tree has been around since the 15th century but it has only been decorated as it is today since the 18th century. How do you prefer to decorate your tree?
– My family usually decorates it minimalistically. And it’s always my mother who is in charge of the decorating. Nobody else has anything to say on it, really.
We continue to the port of Bergen where we meet Emma Melberg from Øystese, a little city in the Hardangerfjord.
We make it a little more uncomfortable and ask about a natural part of Christmas: Family feuds!
– Does your family ever argue until the Christmas tree burns down?
– No, that has never happened, she answers laughing.
– But I’ve got divorced parents so it really depends on which side of the family I’m with. My mother and I are more alike, so not a lot of arguments arise there. But, you know, with my dad’s side of the family, it can vary. It depends on who starts talking about what, she says.
However, she has carved out two core functions for herself in the midst of stress:
– I’m so used to being either a peacekeeper or just changing the subject. It’s so unnecessary to start those arguments when it’s Christmas time, though. You’re supposed to enjoy yourselves, so let’s just skip that.
On site we meet Birgit Rinde from the province of Telemark, southwest of Bergen.
Topic: Christmas games.
– In Mexico children play Piñada at Christmas, hitting sweets out of a jar with a bat. What games do you play at Christmas and what role do the children play?
– We play «Bezzerwizzer». And when you’re a child that’s very boring because you don’t know any answers and the grown ups know them all. So the grown ups love it, but the children don’t.
In the park in front of the National Theatre Cecilie Helgesen is walking with her dogs. The student and native Bergenser shares her thoughts on gifts and finances.
– I think the most important is that in the moment when you discover it you think of a person. There will pop up someone in your mind. It doesn’t matter if it’s 10 kroner or a thousand.
We make our way back to the Muséplassen, where we meet Helga Maartmann-Moe. Originally from Estonia, she is 87, but that doesn't stop her from studying German at the University of Bergen.
– What is the most beautiful thing about Christmas? And are there any specific cons?
She responds with a clear attitude that she loves human intentions and detests economic ones:
– The best thing is being with my family, my children and grandchildren. The back side is that many people have little money and there's such a shopping frenzy. It's too much about buying. I think that's awful. Being together and talking – isn’t that the most important thing?
So it’s about communication, a topic she personally wants to write a book about soon.