Celebrating Christmas in Greenland is one of the unique things to do during your visit to the Arctic. The coziness of the families and unique food, decorations, and the regional customs and traditions will make you fall in love with Greenland. 

Christmas is very festive in Greenland and people celebrate it with many candles and numerous red-orange Christmas stars, which can be seen in different areas. It is common for the people in the country to enjoy their local customs and traditions.

Christmas candles are lit on the Christmas trees on the first day of Advent and this is what makes Greenland unique. Now, let’s experience the Christmas celebrations in one of the coldest places on the planet!

Christmas and the Northern Lights in Greenland

The Northern Lights in Greenland are a sight to behold.

Greenland people enjoy their Christmas with the best views on the planet. Children and young adults usually come out of their houses and join in the songs. This usually happens during Christmas Eve and people reward the children with sweets, candies, and other treats. 

Christmas in Greenland is usually characterized by the Northern Lights and it is one of the best feelings that you can have during your trip here. The lights are amazing and it is one of the natural wonders of the world.

St. Lucia Parade usually occurs on the 13th of December. During this period, people wear wreaths on their heads and they get into the streets where they sing about the good deeds of St. Lucia. It is a very popular phenomenon in schools as well as in different neighborhoods around the country. 

The practice is more common in after-school centers and among different communities around the country. The people will celebrate Christmas Eve by dancing.

Christmas tree in Greenland

On Christmas Eve, the Christmas celebration comes to life with Christmas corals, singing, and recitation of Christmas poems heard across Greenland. A large part of the Greenland community usually celebrates Christmas. 

You will also see the singing and recitation of Christmas poems on the television and you can even listen to them on the radio.  According to local traditions, there are three-part voice songs presented on church pews. Since many of the people in the country are churchgoers and singers, they usually like to celebrate Christmas in style.

In addition to the singing and recitation of Christmas songs and carols, Greenlanders usually prepare for Christmas by decorating their Christmas tree. The Christmas period in the region is usually celebrated as family and people will often gather around and enjoy food, and drinks and have conversations.

There is also common competition among the family members called kaffemikkers usually held at lunch when the family members are having a good time after meals. The young members of the family will decorate the tree with lights and stars, giving it a unique sparkle.

Christmas Day in Greenland

They follow almost religiously the people in Greenland value Christmas so much and the tradition. Christmas is always white in Greenland and you will see that the small towns and settlements have even decorated churches for Christmas. People around the country will go for the services in the church as well. 

During Christmas, sermons are held, poems are recited, and psalms are sung in Greenlandic and Danish. People in the country believe in Christmas and therefore they are Christians who will go the church before celebrating Christmas. The most common expression that you will hear in the region is Juullimi Pilluari which means Merry Christmas.

They usually put gifts and other rewards under the Christmas tree early on Christmas, so that when the kids come from church, then they are going to find them there.

Christmas food and drinks in Greenland

The people of Greenland have some of the most unique Christmas dishes around. The Christmas dishes are very comprehensive.

Some of the common dishes include roast pork, duck, turkey, and goose. In some other parts of the country, people eat musk, reindeer, lamb, grouse, and razorbill.

Reindeer is far more common in the north, while lamb is common in the south of Greenland.

Christmas traditions and customs in Greenland

Greenland is a place where everybody loves Christmas and it is common to have good food and a cozy atmosphere which many people are going to enjoy here.

The Christmas traditions and customs in the country vary according to the region.  Here are some of the common Christmas traditions in Greenland.

Christmas stars

The most common tradition in the country is the lighting of stars and in Greenland, you will find that they light oranges. These are stars shaped like an orange and you will find that all the homes in the country usually have these stars beautifully shining from their windows.

According to the Greenlandic traditions, a star is lit from Christmas Day through the January 6th. Each day a new star is lit until the end of Christmas Day. The Christmas stars in Greenland are some of the most legendary features that usually give a feeling of togetherness and warmth. 

The star that is lit during Christmas day is a symbol that Christ has been born. It is usually lit in the afternoon on the Sunday of Advent and it is a common tradition that people gather around in the afternoon before the star is lit.  You will find that people recite poems, and sing Christmas carols. These songs are very unique in this region.

Some of the common typical stars that you can find in Greenland is a star-shaped folded paper. This star beams some of the most beautiful orange, golden yellow glow that will elevate your Christmas mood. 

According to history, the star was brought into the country by the Christian Brotherhood in the early 18th century, and ever since it has become a common tradition across the country. You will find that many people call it Herrnhutters.

Christmas service

There is no Christmas that is ever complete in the country without the Greenlanders going to church. It is an important tradition in the region. Many people usually go to church during the Advent period. The services held at Christmas are exceptional because they are considered holy. 

The services feature poems, recitals, singing, and dancing and everyone is happy during this period. The local people in the region are known for their tradition of leaving a light on the graves located in the churchyard and it is a custom that is cherished across the country. In many places, you will find that people build a small snow cave on top so that the candle is not blown off. It is an amazing sight because the hundreds of lights create an ambient environment.

Lucia’s parade

This is a unique tradition that is prevalent across Greenland. Lucia’s parade is common in Nordic countries and Greenland as well. It usually involves children dressed in white robes who walk around and parade while carrying lights in their hands. 

The first person on the parade usually wears a wreath and carries four candle lights and this is a tradition that has been kept for centuries. The tradition is also carried out in schools and different daycare institutions around the country.

In Greenland, you will find that people will visit the hospitals and even homes for the elderly and carry out the tradition as well. Santa Lucia is an old Swedish tradition that dates back centuries and over the years it has continued to be so popular around the country.

Broomstick with green leaves

Apart from peopled decorating their Christmas trees, Greenlanders also have broomsticks with green leaves. This is a far more appropriate and cost-friendly way of celebrating Christmas with a tree because the importation of trees can be expensive. 

During the Christmas period, people will gather around the Christmas tree and unwrap their gifts. There is also a competition of baking.

These were just some of the numerous, colorful Christmas traditions and customs in Greenland!

For more information about Greenland, check out more of our articles for the country:

Aurimas Bio

Hi there! I’m Aurimas, a man behind Go Look Explore. I’m passionate about hiking, exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations, and everything outdoors related. Let’s connect.