Friday, May 15, 2015

Hurrah for the 17th of May

Red, White and Blue Norwegian Flags
Photo: Scandinavian Kitchen
You may ask what the big deal is about the 17th of May.  The answer is imprinted deeply into every Norwegian ex-pat and American of Norwegian descent's heart:  It's Norwegian Constitution Day!

This is a big deal in Norway.

Every child in the nation will march in a parade on this day, carrying a red, white and blue Norwegian flag.  The whole country is awash in red, white and blue on this day. People will wear their national bunad costumes, like this award-winning Lier bunad which was designed by my mom's cousin's wife, Ruth Strand:

The apple blossoms of the Lier Valley are embroidered on this beautiful dress
Photo: Norwegian Bunad
It's lovely and heart-warming. It's a celebration of the nation's children and the goods things in life.

I've been lucky enough to spend a few 17th of May celebrations in Norway.  It's a lot of fun.

The 17th of May parade in Karl Johansgate in Oslo
Every school has its own banner
Photo: Aftenposten
In Oslo, every schoolchild, from the youngest elementary schoolchild, to the college-aged, will march up Karl Johansgate past the Royal Palace.  The King and his family, with great royal good will and a lot of stamina, stand on the porch smiling and waving to them the entire time.

This takes hours.

The only break comes from the silly college-age kids and their pranks, and the school marching bands which are interspersed among the children from their school.

Then, everyone goes home to eat hot dogs with mustard, wrapped in potato tortillas, followed by some ice cream.

Seriously.  Everyone does that.

The King's Palace at the 17th of May
Photo: Norway's Official Website Abroad
 Looking for ways to be more Norwegian?

Here in the Los Angeles area there's a 17th of May celebration every year at the Norwegian Seaman's Church in San Pedro.

This is a true Norwegian 17th of May celebration at the church with a parade around the neighborhood, traditional Norwegian food (pølser, rundstykker, brus, bløtkaker, marsipankaker, og kaffe), speeches, and of course games and ice cream for the kids.

If you live in Minnesota, I'm sure it's even easier to find a celebration!

For 18 ways to be more Norwegian, check out this hilarious (and very true!) blog post from the Scandinavian Kitchen in London through this link:

Bløtkake with berries
Photo: Norway's Official Website Abroad

Have a great weekend, everyone!

For more information on the country of Norway, check out Norway's official website abroad:

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