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Gregorsmesse, The Primstav Day When We Look for Spring

Updated: Jun 27, 2022

Gregor the Great, Primstav Norway
Gregor the Great

Gregorsmesse is a special feast day on the primstav that always falls on 12 March. Gregor the Great was pope from 590 until his death in 604.

In Norway Saint Gregory was given special status in the parish of Nidaros in Trondheim. This special day is marked on almost all primstav with a crossed twig or a tree or sometimes a bird. Those signs of spring are significant because on this day we are looking for the first sign of spring to come and brighter times ahead.

Legend says that on this day you should go to bed without lighting a candle and if three drops fell from the north side of a church roof then it would be a good year. If the weather was warm you should build, but if it was cold you should sow oats. The sowing of oats is very much in keeping with the other legends surrounding Gregorsmesse and so it seems fitting to eat porridge today.

Norway has a long history of porridge recipes from sour cream porridge (rømmegrøt) to oat and barley porridge And it's a dish that's enjoyed for many occasions even at weddings and is associated with celebrations. My favourite is risgrøt, but why not explore some other types of porridge that are popular in Norway like rømmegrøt.

Will you eat porridge today, turn the lights out early and keep the celebration of Gregorsmesse alive a little longer?

For more Nordic living chat and Nordic customs, join me in the Living a Nordic Life Facebook group.

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