Candles sparkle in Norwegian fashion

POULSBO — With the latest holiday addition to downtown, the only thing missing is a few inches of fresh snow as candlaria now fill many shop windows.

The red, inverted “V” shaped fixtures add to the city’s historic Norwegian feel as merchants prepare for the throes of the holiday season, said Sons of Norway administrator Mariann Samuelsen.

“Every time I drive through downtown and see the lights in the windows it makes me feel so warm,” Samuelsen said, expressing her gratitude to all the store owners who have added the extra holiday touch to their businesses.

All across Norway, windows are lit up with candles to mark the beginning of the yuletide season as early as late November, she said.

“It makes people feel welcome and provides light because there is so much darkness during the winter months,” she said.

Even though downtown is adorned with one luminary arrangement, there are many other styles found throughout Norway and other Scandinavian countries, Samuelsen said, noting that while many people still use wax candles, light bulbs often take their place.

“The candles remind me a lot of store windows in Norway,” she said, admitting that she was feeling a twinge of homesickness during the holiday season.

With candlaria providing light and feeling of warmth downtown, another Norwegian tradition provides holiday cheer to birds and other small animals downtown.

Sheafs of oats were hung on light poles throughout downtown Friday, adding to the traditional feel.

In Norway, sheafs of oats are hung on posts and fences for birds and other creatures to eat, Samuelsen said.

“It comes from the belief that if you share with all creatures, you will get an abundance,” she said.

Extending acts of kindness to all creatures is firmly rooted in the Scandinavian holiday celebrations, she said.

The North Kitsap-Poulsbo Rotary Club also decked Kvelstad Pavilion with evergreen boughs and lights as the community has turned out in support of keeping the holiday traditions alive.

Another Christmas addition to Little Norway will be the arrival of a horse-drawn carriage on weekends beginning with Jule Fest on Dec. 3. Carriage rides will start at the Sons of Norway lodge and proceed down Front Street to Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant where they will turn onto Anderson Parkway and back to the lodge.

“It’s so exciting to see all of this going on,” Samuelsen said.

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