Potatoes constitute a vital part of Norwegian cuisine and culture. In fact, they’re so important that we can thank them for our fall holiday.

Children of all ages took part in the potato harvest. It was laborious work, so a break in the potato carriage was necessary once in a while. Photo: Domkirkeodden / Digitalt Museum

During fall, farmers harvest their crops, including tons and tons of potatoes. After WWII, most school children in Norway got a week off school to help the neighboring farm collecting potatoes from the fields.

Some farmers didn’t even have tractors, so a horse would walk the fields dragging a potato collector device. Potatoes would spring up from the ground, and children would rush to pick them up.

A few decades later, potato fields were exchanged with beaches at vacation hotspots in Southern Europe or mountainous landscapes by the cabin. The potato holiday slowly, but surely, changed name to the fall holiday (høstferien).

Today, the fall holiday is usually between week 40-42, depending on where in the country you live. Most Norwegian children spend their vacation playing outside in the beautiful fall colors. The only relation kids have to potatoes nowadays, is that they might be eating them this week.

Everyone participated during the potato holiday. Photo: Domkirkeodden / Digitalt Museum
The potato was an important food product in Norway during and after WWII. Photo: Adolf Skjegstad / Domkirkeodden / Digitalt Museum
Horses were important helpers during the potato harvest. Photo: Domkirkeodden / Digitalt Museum
All school children participated in collecting potatoes during the potato holiday. Photo: Domkirkeodden / Hamar Stiftstidende / Digitalt Museum