Norway Needs a Holiday Like St. Patrick’s Day

Norwegian Flag

I have always regretted not being born Irish. It seems to have been a sad oversight on my parents’ part.

I like the color green. I love Irish music, and if I could get the Chieftains to visit Worthington I would probably spontaneously combust with happiness. I own an Irish wedding band, despite being neither Irish nor married.  I know what a banshee is, and I even know it really ought to be spelled “bean sidhe.” Though I have never tasted corned beef and cabbage, I have actually seen it with my own eyes without suffering any noticeable trauma.

I really should have been born Irish.

I don’t understand why Norwegians don’t have a holiday as cool as St. Patrick’s Day, either. I mean, what does it take to get a holiday?

First, we’d need a date. Since Ireland’s holiday is named after a saint, I think we might borrow the idea for Norway and celebrate the country’s patron saint, St. Olaf. He apparently has a few different feast days, but I’d go with Aug. 3, based on the lack of existing holidays that month.

We’d need a symbol of some kind, like the shamrock. I’d suggest a snowflake, or maybe a rock (symbolizing the fjords). The real Olaf was King of Norway, so maybe a crown would be better. We should probably have a color, too. Most of the Norwegian flag is red, but personally I always think of Norway as blue, or maybe a frosty white.

The food would probably have to be traditional Norwegian cuisine. This wouldn’t include lutefisk, because one holiday that includes lutefisk is, in my opinion, one too many, and we already have the darn stuff at Thanksgiving and Christmas. So maybe the traditional St. Olaf’s Day cuisine would be limited to lefse and rice pudding.

St. Olaf’s Day would also need to include some fun activities. St. Patrick’s claim to fame was chasing the snakes out of Ireland. St. Olaf, on the other hand, was known for slaying a sea serpent and tossing it onto a mountain. Granted, that’s only one serpent, but it was really big, so I’d say Olaf wins out over Patrick any day.

Maybe the Norwegian festival could include snake-tossing as a competitive event. We shouldn’t use real serpents, though, because that would really tick off the RSPCCSS (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Creepy Sea Serpents).

Think St. Olaf’s Day has a chance of getting off the ground in America?

8 thoughts on “Norway Needs a Holiday Like St. Patrick’s Day

  1. Doesn’t Syttende Mai count….head to Wisconny May 17th and you will be sure to find a celebration of food and drink. Pretty sure Woodville, not far across the border, has a healthy celebration! :)

    • It does, but it seems to get lost in the shuffle in southwest Minnesota. I’m not sure why. We have many, many Norwegians here, and apparently we used to have a Syttende Mai parade. Alas, no longer!

      I was hoping a new holiday and a move to August, would help. The serpent-hurling sure couldn’t hurt either!

  2. The “old” Norwegian music was very strongly Celtic. Like you, I enjoy that music. A few years ago we were at the Hjelmcomst Scandenavian festival, and they had a group from Norway there doing traditional dancing, with a violin, and an accordion. When they were done, I walked down to the accordion player and told him that I enjoyed his playing. I asked where he was from, and he said Stavanger. I told him that my Grandparents came fro Haugesund, ( just north of there). He said that “Ya, I live in Stavanger, but was born in Haugesund. I then told him that Haugesund wasn’t actually the town, but a little town just East called Tysvaer. He then said that was the town he was born in. (“a clan town”.) He asked who my parents were, and it turned out that his mother was my mother’s 1st cousin. So we were 2nd cousins. He asked if I played the accordion, and I said yes, and quite well. He said “It’s genetic”. Soooo—mabey your affinity for Celtic music is genetic also, or is it Oslo? Do you like Livit a Finnsgoggen? (A song about a place in Norway by the Swedish border). AKA Life in the Finnish Woods.

    • … actually, I do like “Livet i Finnskogen,” though I’m not as big of a fan of the accordion as I am of the violin and other stringed instruments. My Norwegian great-grandfather played the fiddle, so I like to think an affinity is in the blood. It’s just a shame I didn’t get any talent.

      You’re right, though. At least some of the Norwegian folk music I can find online sounds a bit like the Celtic stuff.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRXCjkst0iQ Simple, beautiful.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pftl-P00lrQ This one’s absolutely amazing.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dff7-Uhff8E For those who like to hear the singing.

      I have very little experience with traditional Scandinavian music, despite having lived in Minnesota most of my life. I have heard it live perhaps once, when my grandparents hired a band to play traditional Scandinavian tunes for their 50th anniversary party. It was awesome.

      When I got the World of Warcraft Lich King expansion, I literally became misty-eyed when I reached Grizzly Hills for the first time. I couldn’t believe I’d found traditional Scandinavian music in a game, and listening to that particular piece still gets to me.

      I strongly recommend you check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IV1ekaMKyc

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