17th of May, Norway’s National and Constitution Day (signed in 1814), is celebrated as the most Norwegian there is. Nationalism, patriotism and childlike enthusiasm are shown, as we celebrate our freedom (after the occupation during World War 2 and 100 years of union with Sweden) and of course the signing of our Constitution.
Adding to that, for a nation located at The Arctic Circle – after a long, dark and cold winter – we are celebrating spring! Special also, and we are damn proud of it: The children are in the center of the activities and the parades are free of military presence of any sort.
I’ve posted about this big event in Norway a lot of time. I mean – this blog is after all a place to find interesting stuff about our culture, traditions and habits – and what’s more Norwegian than 17th of May? Here are some examples:
May 17 in Norway celebrating National and Constitutional Day
17th of May – Norway’s National Day in Oslo
17th of May Parade in Norway
17th of May Norway’s Constitution Day in Oslo
17th of May Constitution or National day in Norway
I wonder: How do you celbrate the constitutional day in you’re country – or have you been in Norway at the 17th of May – for a comparison? Please share in comments!
Restaurant New Orleans reflects colonial elegance, with high ceilings, large arched windows, crystal chandeliers and classic furniture and is the only place to get real Cajun-Creole in Oslo. It’s a casual and popular establishment – with mostly Cajun, jazz, blues, zydeco and ragtime music on the menu. This is the place to go if you love classics such as jambalaya, gumbo and ceviche plus other Creole inspired meat and fish dishes. You are also welcome to invite friends to a Crawfish Boil Party: a Creole tradition consisting of steamed freshwater crayfish served in large portions to share with accessories.
My lovely wife invited me to a surprise date on Saturday and since she is an American, she said it was about time – both to have a date and to dine out : -) You’re welcome to join and sit in while I tell you about our quality time. Let’s start with the described interior, inspired by the American colonial period in Louisiana with crystal chandeliers, dark wood and brocade upholstered chairs:
So it was in these surroundings with long roots and traditions of the New Orleans area we enjoyed our meal. We love food and especially with a local connection and then it’s a bit special to eat Cajun-Creole in the capital of Norway. I have noted what they have to offer and from the rich menu we chose our respective main course:
Left: Cajun Popcorn – Right: Po´mans Jambalaya Louisianans
Everything was pleasingly served and delicious – a really nice staff provided good service in a nice atmosphere. My dear wife felt almost like home and had the following suggestions for dessert:
Pecan Pie with vanilla ice cream
All in all, this was a positive food experience that can be recommended for those who want to try something different in Oslo. The New Orleans restaurant is located right in the center, just a stone throw from the main street Karl Johan. If you are a jazz lover, I recommend that you check their web site when you book, so you can simultaneously check the live music events – bon appétit!
I had some fun using PS Touch for image editing on my iPad for the time being. Of all the pictures we took, I made this summary:
All this resulted in a pleasant and interesting dining experience. I recommend you to check it out if you are in the area.
Our family tradition, hunting for Easter Bunny Eggs, is one of my dearest and may be one of the best examples of recreational outdoor activity in the Norwegian woods. Every year the feeling of anticipation and excitement takes me down the memory lane. You may say I’m a bit childish, but I’m just fine with that and it’s important to get into the right spirit – and of course: you have to love being outdoors too.
The Easter Egg and Bunny or Hare thing dates back to pagan times and is more about fertility and a celebration of spring than recent Christian Easter traditions. Honored in many rite-of-Spring festivals, during the span of history, eggs represented mystery, magic, medicine, food and omen. So it represented the rebirth of the earth – the long, hard winter was over – the earth burst forth and was reborn just as the egg miraculously burst forth with life.
But lets get back to the outdoors hunt and you are welcome to join us around the bonfire as I go on with the story and show some photos:
Of shore, resting after the Egg hunt at the bonfire.
The hunting is of course the most exciting part and you may wonder how the eggs get there and how we find them. Well, when I was young my dad did it – but since this is something of important passing on to generations: nowadays my sister and I walk a bit ahead, to see if we can find some bunny footprints.
When we were children, my parents told me they did, so then it had to be true, and it has never been questioned in the family. It’s just the same as Santa brings the gifts of course. People who don’t believe in this have missed out on something important from their childhood I think.
Also I hope you see why this should be an outdoor activity: You have to find the eggs in the Bunny’s natural surroundings! And tell me; what can be more recreational than sitting around a bonfire, smelling spring is in the air, listening to the sounds of birds and eating hotdogs grilled on the bonfire:
So now I hope you understand the excitement in my Easter anticipation and why it’s so important to me to hold on to this childish, family tradition of believing it is the Easter Bunny who laid the eggs. To sum it up in one collage photo:
So here it is – from me to you: A new Easter Egg hunt family tradition for free!
February 10, 2013 marks the beginning of the Chinese Year of the Snake. I’ve decided to get off to a fortunate start this year by sending out Chinese New Year post to all Asian and Chinese friends. So “恭喜發財” (gung hay fat choy) or “恭喜发财” (gong xi fa cai) to you all! I do it since my blog is about cultures, traditions and habits – mostly Norwegians of course – and over the years I’ve got plenty of friends all over the world and learned a lot about others. By sharing mine, the comments to my posts and links to others in Blogsphere have been an example to me as a network enthusiast: A Givers Gain! These years of blogging have increased my social awareness and also curiosity to listen and learn as I have had the chance to experience some Chinese culture adventures in Norway too. It’s summed up in a collage I’ve made tonight:
Frank Woo inspires Norway with Chinese Art:
We were invited to the opening of the Chinese painting exhibition by Frank Woo in Lillestrøm (1/2 hour drive north east of Oslo). Frank is my wife Diane’s best friend’s brother. Impressed by his personality and fabulous work, I gladly shared this art adventure with you (and repeat it in this post):
Born in Hong Kong, Frank Woo’s artwork shows an inspirational blending of traditional Chinese colours and textures mingled with modern art and raw emotion. He is a self-taught painter, trained in print-making in Hong Kong. His travels and burning desire for inspiration brought him to Japan, to Tokyo’s Bunka Fashion College to complete his Degree in Illustration.
Chinese Food Song and Dance in Oslo:
We’ve had special visitors from Xinjang, China in 2007 as part of the Chinese Cultural week giving a breath taking performance in Oslo Concert Hall. Before the show a Chinese friend of mine, Cong, invited my wife and I, plus four others to dinner. I love Chinese food as it is very different and very tasty, although a bit spicier than Norwegian food. The restaurant has a nice Chinese ambiance and the setting puts us into the right mood for the evening.
Talking about my friend Cong and what I have achieved by sharing experiences and culture: Among a lot she is a lecturer and writer on Chinese Culture and Thinking teach Chinese Language at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Click and take a look at some of her Chinese Wisdoms interpretation!
To me these are example of how much you can learn from blogging, sharing and being curious about others – just like one of my sayings: Blogging and other Social Media break down cultural, religious and other barriers. That’s way I by this want to say: Happy New Year of the Snake from Norway!