Norway’s Independence Celebration Day! Syttende Mai–May 17!

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Today is the Norwegian National Day, better known as syttende Mai, marks the day Norway’s Constitution was signed in 1814, in effect declaring the country and independent kingdom.

After many historical twists and turns, Norwegians have emerged as arguably the Nordics’ best at throwing a nationwide party.

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For a long time, The Constitution Day was celebrated on the 4th of November

Just a month following 17th of May 1814, Norway was forced into a union with Sweden, which would last  for almost a century. This meant that some parts of the constitution had to be changed, including a clause that would hinder Norway’s exit from the union. The new national day became November 4th. Naturally, all of this made the business of celebrating Norwegian independence all the more complicated.

Not until early twentieth century, after parting ways with big brother Sweden in 1905, would Norway resume its celebrations on 17th of May.

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For the first decades, only boys were allowed to participate in the children’s parade

Perhaps not a “fun fact”, but notable nevertheless in the history of Nordic gender equality, is that when the first children’s parades were introduced in 1869 in Oslo as part of the national celebrations, only boys were included. Twenty years later, in 1889, girls were first allowed to participate in what is now one of the most iconic staples of 17. Mai.

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The first recorded 17. Mai celebrations were in… Denmark

The former interim king of Norway, Christian Fredrik, was sent into an internal exile to Denmark in 1815 to serve as a General Governor of Fyn. Danes were fond of what he had accomplished in Norway (he would indeed one day serve as the king of Denmark), which gave Christian Fredrik cause to arrange festivities for the 17. Mai in 1815. These were the first documented celebrations of the Norwegian Constitution Day.

Norway, which now was in a union with Sweden, would have muted celebrations for the first decades of the 19th century.

Contrary to popular belief, the song that Norwegians sing during the celebrations, “Ja, vi elsker”, is actually not the national song of Norway. It was first performed in 1864 to mark the 50-year celebrations of 17. Mai.

The Norwegian culture was on display across the Twin Cities on May 20, as churches and communities celebrated Syttende Mai, Norway’s Constitution Day. (“Syttende Mai” translated means May 17 in Norwegian.) In Minnesota, the holiday is often commemorated on the Sunday closest to that date. Each year, one of the biggest celebrations takes place at Mindekirken, the Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church in Minneapolis.

Every May 17th Norwegians worldwide celebrate Norway’s independence with a day similar to our 4th of July – only theirs is called Syttende Mai (the 17th of May).  George “Ole” Olson stopped by the studio to talk about this special Norwegian holiday.  Ole gave us a history lesson on the complicated relationship between Norway and Sweden and told us about the events related to the day.

The Sons of of Norway Bemidji Lodge 500 will host this year’s Syttende Mai event tomorrow, May 17th at the Norwegian Village within the Concordia Language Villages north of Bemidji.  Everyone is welcome to attend the event, enjoy the parade, eat Norwegian food and enjoy music by Eric Bergeson.  That event starts at 5pm with a social hour that will be followed by the parade, banquet and entertainment.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed the history surrounding the Norwegians since there’s plenty in the state of Minnesota, including myself. You betcha!

Here is a link to where you can find me. Barb’s Books FaceBook Twitter Goodreads

 

Time for fall colors!

Now that our children are grown and have children of their own, my memories come forward and lead me down memory lane.  The fun fall days come to mind of raking leaves and hearing them crunch underfoot and now our grandchildren enjoy the same activity.

 

When our two boys were young, we’d rake leaves and pile them high, then run and jump into them. Did you see the word, we? Yes, I’d run and jump into the high dried leaf piles with them, and do it all over again.

With our children, we’d gather fresh fallen leaves and press between wax paper and then tape on the windows.  They’d look just like stain glass windows and so pretty.  I would also place the leaves between sheets of paper and color.  The many varied shaded patterns made great placemats for Thanksgiving.

We also had neighbors who enjoyed getting together in the evening. We’d all gather at the Olson’s, and have hot chocolate and a bonfire. What a treat! Everyone loved it. We’d roast marshmallows and this is where I learned about smores.

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Returning home last weekend after babysitting the young grandchildren, we took a side road. The beautiful oranges, reds, and gold fall colors always made me smile.

All those wonderful memories. This is my favorite time of the year. What is yours?

You can read all about me in my website:  Barb’s Books

 

 

LABOR DAY!!

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Labor Day is on the first Monday of September every year. It was originally organized to celebrate various labor unions’ strengths of and contributions to the United States’ economy.

About Labor Day

The first Labor Day was held in 1882. Its origins stem from the desire of the Central Labor Union to create a holiday for workers. It became a federal holiday in 1894. It was originally intended that the day would be filled with a street parade to allow the public to appreciate the work of the trade and labor organizations. After the parade, a festival was to be held to amuse local workers and their families. In later years, prominent men and women held speeches.This is less common now, but is sometimes seen in election years. One of the reasons for choosing to celebrate this on the first Monday in September, and not on May 1, which is common in the rest of the world, was to add a holiday in the long gap between Independence Day and Thanksgiving.

When I was a kid, we’d pack up and go for a drive up north. Sometimes, we’d visit farm relatives for the three day weekend, but not always. The farm was always fun because my brother and would climb on the haybales or else create havoc while our uncles did the milking. Since we lived in Minneapolis, the farm held much to discover and enjoy.

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However, Mom and Dad loved to fish. We’d load our fishing poles and off we’d go to a small lake north of Minneapolis near McGregor. We had relatives there, too, who had a cabin. That was always fun.

What does your family do for fun? How about visiting a National Park or go for a bike ride? Get out and enjoy the great outdoors and relish in the day. You deserve it!

You could sit outside and read a good book!

 

Here is the link to my website where you can find more good books!  Barb’s Books

August—what to do? Read—that’s what!

Summer keeps us moving and August is a month to celebrate and really enjoy because soon the long, hot days will be cold, long days of winter.

Let’s not think of those cold, north winds and low temperatures. Outdoor activities should be high on the list for things to do, and that includes reading a good book in the sun, near the lake.

August 9 is National Book Lover’s Day.  Here are some things that you can do to celebrate books.

Visit your library.

Buy a book by your favorite author.

Read a book by a new author.

Participate in a book exchange.

Books are always better than the movie.

Travel the world with a book.

So, when you plan your camping trip or other outing, bring a book!

Breathe in the fresh air, and let your imagination go—and enjoy!  You won’t regret it.

 

 

Here is the link to my website:  Barb’s Books