Religious Beliefs and Practices. Lutheranism became the official state religion in Norway in the sixteenth century and remains such, although minority religions (Baptists, Catholics) are also evident. Although membership in the state church is high, many Norwegians are not regular churchgoers, with women generally putting more emphasis on church attendance. High festivals such as Christmas, Easter, and Norwegian Independence Day (Syttende Mai) are ritualized events with national costumes, festive foods, and church attendance integrated into the celebrations.
Arts. Various folk arts, such as rose painting and costume and clothing manufacture, are accompanied by modern forms of visual, literary, and theatrical arts.
Medicine. State-supported socialized medicine fulfills health care needs, with hospital care as a norm for childbirth and serious illnesses. Almost all drugs are dispensed on a prescription basis in pharmacies ( apotek ).
Death and Afterlife. Funerals, like all life-and-death Rituals (baptism, confirmation), are generally held in the church. The concept of a continuing spirit after death, which is in accordance with Lutheran theology, is however absent in a significant number of nonchurchgoing Norwegians, approximately 30 percent of the total population.