Virtual 17th of May Celebrations for Norway’s Constitution Day

Curious how you can celebrate Norway’s national day on Monday, May 17? With the pandemic still limiting how we can celebrate, organizations are hosting virtual events this year as well. Below you’ll find a sampling of virtual events from various locations around the U.S. with strong Norwegian ties as well as Norway’s own national broadcast. In this listing, all times have all been converted to Pacific Daylight Time for ease of planning.

On our national day, Norwegians celebrate the signing of their constitution which happened on May 17, 1814. However, Norway’s call for independence was not accepted and so it stayed in a union with Sweden and didn’t become independent until 1905.

It is known to be a day of children’s parades and marching bands, hot dogs and ice cream, speeches and songs, and bunads and flags. “The celebration of the Norwegian Constitution Day is a party like no other.”


11:50 p.m. (5/16) – 7:00 a.m. (5/17) Pacific Daylight Time — NRK’s Gratulerer med dagen!

This is a tough one for folk on the U.S. West Coast to watch live due to the time difference, but you’ll be able to watch a recording at your convenience. Produced by Norway’s national TV station, program hosts Nadia Hasnaoui og Christian Strand will be filming from Oslo’s Akershus festning (Akershus Castle) overlooking the Oslo Harbor. In addition to seeing how Norwegians all over Norway celebrate, you will also get a glimpse of how the royal family will commemorate the day. There will be food and entertainment segments as well. For details on the program, visit Slik blir 17. mai 2021 på NRK (in Norwegian).

7:00 a.m., 8:00 a.m., and 1:00 p.m. PDT — Norway Day: A Virtual Celebration from New York City & Washington DC

Norway Day is a collaboration between Sjømannskirken in New York and Norwegian groups and organizations in New York and Washington, D.C. At 7:00 a.m. PT, join the Raising of the Flag ceremony which includes a speech by the Norwegian Ambassador to the U.S., Anniken Ramberg Krutnes, and music from Rockville Brass Band. This is followed by a church service from the Norwegian Church in New York at 8:00 a.m. PT (service in Norwegian). Finally, at 1:00 p.m. PT enjoy a 17th of May concert with musicians from both Norway and USA.

9:00 a.m. PDT – 17. mai Celebration at Pacific Lutheran University/Scandinavian Cultural Center

Join PLU’s Scandinavian Cultural Center in Tacoma, WA, for the premiere of their 17. mai – Norwegian Constitution Day celebration.

10:00-11:00 a.m. PDT — Virtual Kids’ Craft: Collage a Norwegian Flag for Syttende Mai

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, and celebrate Syttende Mai with a Norwegian flag art project! Make a Norwegian collage flag. Cost: Free; RSVP required to receive the link.

10:00 a.m. PDT — Syttende Mai with Vesterheim

Join Vesterheim in Decorah, Iowa, for a free webinar as they celebrate Syttende Mai with friends from Norway and the United States! First Norwegian storyteller Anne Elisebeth Skogen will join the webinar from Ryfylkemuseet at Sand, Norway, to tell the story, Schoolgirl and My Very First May 17th Parade in 1962. Next, Decorah musicians Beth and Jon Rotto (playing fiddle and rhythm guitar, respectively) will offer Norwegian and Norwegian-American tunes from the Bethania Church in Vesterheim’s Heritage Park.
Register to receive the free Zoom link.

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. PDT — Syttende Mai Celebration with Seattle

Join an online celebration from Seattle’s historic Ballard neighborhood. It will begin with a pre-program lineup of entertainment and fun from 11:30 a.m. to noon. Then a virtual program from The National Nordic Museum will feature remarks from Grand Marshal Mayor Marte Mjøs Persen from Seattle’s Sister City Bergen; Honorary Marshal Eric Nelson, CEO, National Nordic Museum; and Ambassador Anniken R. Krutnes, Royal Norwegian Embassy; and His Majesty King Harald V of Norway. It will also include memories from past Syttende Mai celebrations and Syttende Mai song sing-alongs.

5:00-6:00 p.m. PDT — Syttende Mai Celebration with Minnesota

Syttende Mai Minnesota will host an online event in honor of Norway’s Constitution Day. Connect with the Norwegian-American community and hear remarks from Her Excellency Ambassador Anniken Krutnes, Norway’s Ambassador to the United States. Afterwards, Ethan Bjelland from Norway House and Mindekirken’s Norwegian Language & Culture Program will lead us in singing a few celebratory songs! This event is complimentary and accessible to everyone. Register by May 16.

5:30 p.m. PDT — 17. mai feiring med Sjømannskirken i Los Angeles

Sjømannskirken in Los Angeles is hosting an in-person celebration with limited capacity. However, festivities will be live-streamed on their Facebook page for those who would like to follow along. The program includes speeches, music, song, Norwegian flags, and a raffle.


How will you be celebrating 17. mai this year?

Online Scandinavian Language Classes

Have you resolved to learn a Scandinavian language or improve your current Scandinavian language skills in 2021? Of course there are mobile/web apps, like Duolingo and Babbel, and online and book-based options for independent study, but some of you may prefer regular, personal interaction with an instructor and other learners. Now that institutions have pivoted to offering virtual events and classes, there are many such options to consider. Winter session is open for registration at many Scandinavian centers around the country now.

Here are some options I’ve come across recently. Personally, we are familiar with and recommend Vesterheim’s Family Norwegian Language Adventures. We participated in the ones from October (friluftsliv), November (kos), and December (jul). It was a nice combination of language and culture with accompanying family activities and virtual interaction with other participants (read about our October adventure here).

Please share in the comments if you are familiar with or have experience with any other in-person programs that are now virtual.


Vesterheim, the National Norwegian-American Museum & Folk Art School (Decorah, IA)

Vesterheim’s Heritage and Language classes give students the tools to dive more deeply into their Norwegian roots and connect with cultural traditions. While most classes focus on the culture, language, and history of Norway, some are appropriate for anyone curious about heritage and identity. Some classes are specifically tailored for travelers while others help students travel in their imaginations. These classes sell out quickly (winter sessions are already full), so check back early for spring offerings. View upcoming classes.

A unique language learning option at Vesterheim is their Family Norwegian Language Adventures program. Each adventure promises family fun while learning some Norwegian language along the way.

Join Vesterheim in February for an adventure that will focus on eventyr, or fairy tales. Through short videos, hands-on activities, crafts, and light-hearted games, you and your family will learn and practice new Norwegian skills. In advance, a kit will be delivered right to your home containing supplies for these language activities, including a helpful reference sheet for all the new words and expressions you will be learning as well as a yummy treat. A scavenger-hunt-type activity using the GooseChase app will get you up and moving, exploring, embracing the adventure wherever you are and whenever you choose. Enrollment deadline for the February adventure is January 22, 2021. Register here.


Mindekirken Norwegian Language & Culture Program (Minneapolis, MN)

The Mindekirken Norwegian Language & Culture Program offers a range of classes for beginner to advanced students. View Language Classes for a list of classes for beginner and intermediate students. Conversation Classes help intermediate learners build confidence by engaging them to use the Norwegian they already know. Language and Literature Classes for more advanced students incorporate Norwegian literature. For the 2021 winter session, literature classes feature the authors Jørn Lier Horst, Anne B. Ragde, Vidar Sundstøl, and Unni Lindell, as well as Netflix’s Norwegian TV series Hjem til jul. See a list of all class offerings here.

Mindekirken also offers an online Norwegian language and culture group for kids ages 6 to 10 called Den Norske Klubben. The winter session starts on January 3 and meets every other Sunday until March 14. The theme for the year is Sanger og fortellinger (songs and stories). With an informal structure, activities may include games, songs, art projects, and dramatic play. Each week is independent from the others, so children can attend as they are able. It is free to attend but registration is required. Register here.


The Scandinavian School & Cultural Center (San Francisco, CA)

The Scandinavian School and Cultural Center currently offers language classes for adults in Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, as well as Finnish. All classes are taught by native speaking teachers with a focus on conversation and cultural literacy. See offerings here.


Scandinavian Language Institute (Seattle, WA)

The Scandinavian Language Institute offers language instruction classes to the general public in various levels of Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish. Class levels include Beginning, Know-A-Little (Continuing), Intermediate and Advanced plus some Specialty classes. Online classes are scheduled from 4- to 9-week segments throughout the school year depending on the language teacher. They offer live Zoom or pre-recorded classes. See schedules and descriptions here.


American Swedish Institute (Minneapolis, MN)

ASI offers both adult and youth Swedish and Finnish language opportunities. There are traditional classes for adults, Svenska Skolan for kids aged 6-12, and Swedish for Teenagers, a class for students aged 13-18 who are serious about learning Swedish. If you are just curious about Swedish or Finnish and not yet ready to commit to a multi-date class, they offer a virtual intro class for each language as well. See offerings here.


I wish you “lykke til” with any of your language learning endeavours in 2021!

Family Norwegian Language Adventures with Vesterheim

A highlight of this pandemic fall has been our Family Norwegian Language Adventures with Eddy. Early in September, I discovered Vesterheim, The National Norwegian-American Museum & Heritage Center, in Decorah, Iowa, while researching virtual Scandinavian events. Through their Folk Art School, they offered an impressive range of classes and events! What really caught my eye was the October Family Norwegian Language Adventure focused on friluftsliv (“free air living” or “embracing the outdoors”), a virtual experience we could participate in here in Los Angeles.

The organizers promised a family-fun outdoor adventure while learning some Norwegian language along the way. This sounded perfect for our family. I had been teaching my 14-year-old son Norwegian over the summer, and with this “adventure” we could maybe review some of that and involve my 16-year-old son and husband too. Also, with all the screen time taking place, we could all benefit from a new incentive to get outside and have more family time.

The $20 registration fee included a kit “containing supplies for these language activities, a helpful reference sheet for all the new words and expressions you will be learning, a fun craft, and a yummy snack.” The snack was what sealed the deal. If everything else was a bust, we would at least have a snack and the good feeling of supporting an institution promoting Norwegian culture. It was a quick and easy decision to register, even though I didn’t know exactly what I was signing us up for.

Our kit arrived at our doorstep towards the end of September. Per the instructions, we waited until October 1 to open it. The kit was such a treat to open. Prepared with great care and pride in a nice gift box, the kit went way above my expectations. The treat was a Kvikk Lunsj to enjoy on a hike. There was a journal to make notes and drawings of our language learning and nature observations along with bingo cards for a game of outdoor bingo. We also received cards highlighting objects from the Vesterheim collection connected to the theme of friluftsliv.

October 1 was also the day that the corresponding virtual game on the GooseChase app went live. The game included missions that would get our family outside and help us practice our new Norwegian vocabulary that we learned through the language videos created especially for this “adventure”.

We fell into a nice routine. One day each weekend we watched a video at dinner time and practiced the new content. Each video had a general language focus. The first video explored things you might see in nature. The next one covered weather. The third video discussed clothing. The final one delved into two sayings associated with friluftsliv (“Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær.” and “Ut på tur, aldri sur!”). I really appreciated how the adventure included some culture in addition to the vocabulary.

The videos were fantastic! Eddy, the instructor, was very engaging. She used movement, props, and humor to invigorate the videos. Music and special effects added to the fun. The content material and length were just right; each video was 5 to 7 minutes. Eddy ended each session with a suggested task to practice content covered and these corresponded to the missions in the GooseChase game.

  My teenage boys were not particularly thrilled about participating in all the GooseChase missions, but I thought the missions were a fabulous complement to the adventure. Our favorite was the family game of “natur bingo” to practice Norwegian words for things we saw in our backyard. Another highlight was “Ut på tur, aldri sur!” (a walk/hike), though sadly the whole family didn’t go, so I saved the Kvikk Lunsj for another tur. We earned points by submitting photo, video, or text evidence for the missions we completed. There was friendly competition with other teams to earn the most points.

When registration for November’s adventure with its focus on kos (coziness) opened up last month, I was quick to register our family. Once again, we were impressed by the kit. This month’s “yummy snack” was Swedish ginger thins and gløgg mulling spice. We have already watched the first two language videos and completed two of the missions (“What does kos mean to you?” and “Familie tre!”) and I see more points coming our way soon. Registration for the December jul-themed adventure just opened up and I’m already looking forward to it even though we haven’t finished November’s adventure yet!

Here’s Eddy introducing the December Family Norwegian Language Adventure

How to Celebrate Norway’s Constitution Day, May 17, during Coronavirus Times

Norway’s May 17 Constitution Day normally brings with it very festive celebrations – large gatherings of people enjoying speeches and songs, a parade, food, and games. However, this is not a usual year.

For Angelenos, though, the Norwegian Church in San Pedro is offering an alternate kind of celebration. It is hosting drive-in celebrations in their parking lot area. Due to the limited size of their parking lot, guests must register in advance for one of three times offered. Each of the celebrations will include speeches, music and song, raffles with prizes, as well as Norwegian food and drink (see program). Guests will also have the opportunity to shop in the store. Click here for more details and registration information. They will be live-streaming the 11:00 a,m. celebration on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sjomannskirkenlosangeles

But how can you celebrate Norway’s national day if you’re not able to attend an alternate celebration? Read on to get some ideas on how you can celebrate at home.


Join a virtual celebration!

“Gratulerer med dagen” with NRK – Join as Norway celebrates 17th of May
(link to NRK site in Norwegian)

From early morning until late in the evening, there will be celebrations on TV, radio, and internet with reports from all over the country. The TV program starts at 7:50 a.m. CET (10:50 p.m. PDT on May 16!) with the hosts broadcasting from the roof of the NRK building in Oslo. Community leaders, popular TV personalities, and renowned artists will join them throughout the day. The celebration wraps up with a performance by singer Sissel Kyrkjebø and the orchestra KORK (Norwegian Radio Orchestra) at 9:10 p.m. CET (12:10 p.m. PDT on May 17) which will of course include Norway’s national anthem, “Ja, vi elsker”.

Norway Day with New York and Washington, DC
May 17, 7:00 a.m. PDT (10:00 a.m. EDT)

Norwegian organizations in New York and Washington, DC, will be celebrating together with a virtual program starting at 10:00 a.m. EDT which includes an opening ceremony followed by a church service in Norwegian. Then at 5:00 p.m. EDT there will be a concert featuring remarks from H.E. Ambassador Kåre R. Aas and a speech of the day as well as musical performances. All events will be streamed at: https://www.facebook.com/sjomannskirkeninewyork/

“17. Mai Allsang!” (Norwegian Constitution Day Sing-Along!) with Minneapolis MN
May 17, 10:30 a.m. PDT (12:30 p.m. CDT)

Join the communities of Mindekirken (The Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church), Mindekirken Norwegian Language & Culture Program (MNLCP), and Norway House in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at a family song-along on YouTube. They will be singing five, fun 17. mai songs in Norwegian. For some warmup songs, visit Norway House on Facebook.

Hardanger Arts Festival
May 17, 1:00 p.m. PDT

Celebrate the 17th of May with The Norwegian American! On Sunday, May 17, 1:00 p.m. PDT, join Inger-Kristine Riber, Reidun Horvei, and some of the best artists from the Hardanger region in Norway for a special 17. mai online concert. Join on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/events/109478979423001

Virtual Scandinavian Fest: Norway Day, May 15 – 18

This is a new initiative among Scandinavian and Nordic vendors spearheaded by Krista Nygaard, owner of Scandinavian Design Studio in Bend, Oregon, to bring the traditional Scandinavian experience online. The virtual market officially lasts from May 15 – 18 and most vendors will be offering special discounts during this time, but they welcome your support year round at: https://www.scandinavianfest.com/shop


Order take-out or delivery from Scandinavian food establishments.

If you’re local to the Los Angeles area, consider supporting these Scandinavian shops, bakeries, and restaurants with take-out or delivery. The cuisines of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark share some characteristics.


Bake a traditional Norwegian treat!

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Browse a Norwegian food blog and pick out a recipe to try.

 

Here are two of my favorite Norwegian food bloggers, both of whom have lovely new cookbooks out as well, and don’t miss the recipe archive from The Norwegian American:


Watch a Norwegian film or try a Norwegian TV series.


Sit down with a Norwegian book, whether it’s one for yourself or one to read with your children.

 

Here are some book lists that might be helpful:


Check out “17. mai” festivities in Norway from 2019.


How will you be celebrating Norway’s Constitution Day this year?

Norway’s Telemark Canal & Family History, This Time with Kids

My paternal grandparents took great pride in showing their grandkids the greatness of Norway. We went on a variety of trips with them, most of them outdoorsy, both near and far. The last trip my sister and I took with them was a boat ride along the Telemark Canal in southern Norway in 1997. Bonding while experiencing the Telemark Canal with its historic canal boats, numerous locks, and beautiful scenery was not the sole purpose of the trip, however. Dalen, a little town at the end of the canal route, had familial historical significance which our grandfather wanted to share with us.

We are reminded of this piece of family history every time we’re in Oslo because the name of my parents’ home, Mosto, comes from that time in our family history. The home even has its own nameplate on the gate post.

My grandfather was born February 25, 1915, when World War I was raging outside of Norway (1914-1918). His father was an engineer with a specialty in mining, and later that year, he along with his father and others, founded A/S Dalen Gruber (Dalen Mines), a molybdenum mine, of which my great grandfather became the director. Molybdenum was an important metal for the war industry. Once separated from other materials, it was mixed with steel to make armor steel. After the ore was mined, it was crushed, washed, and sent onwards via boat through the canal (which had been completed in 1892). It was mostly exported to England. The mine was in operation from 1916 to 1919, when suddenly there was no more ore to be mined. (View source and pictures of the mine).

In 1997, my sister and I (and my sister’s husband-to-be; my fiancé had to return to LA for work) boarded M/S Victoria in Skien with my grandparents and spent a leisurely day motoring through the Telemark Canal with its eight lock systems connecting lakes and rivers.

We wrapped up our exploration of Telemarkskanalen with a stay at historic Dalen Hotel. Dalen Hotel opened in 1894 and was highly regarded in Europe with visits by royalties and other prominent guests. It’s known as the “fairytale” or “dragon hotel,” its architecture inspired by the Viking era and stave churches. It’s really a sight to be seen!

 

The house in which my grandfather’s family lived in Dalen for three years is the only building left of all mining operations. It is easily seen from the parking lot of Dalen Hotel, the red house up on the hillside.

With my grandfather, we even made our way up to the house for a closer look. When his family left Dalen in 1918, they moved to Oslo and into a newly constructed home. They named the house “Mosto” which is derived from MoS2 (sorry, can’t do the subscript 2), the chemical formula for molybdenite, the principal ore for molybdenum. This is the home my parents now live in.

This summer it was my parents’ turn to show their grandkids some of the greatness of Norway, and my husband and I came along, too. Telemarkskanalen and Dalen were of course on the itinerary (but by car, not boat) and my parents had added some other notable historical and geographical sights as well which I was very eager to see.

Click map for a closer view.

The road trip started from my parents’ summer home in Kragerø along the coast. To get a feel for what Telemarkskanalen is, we stopped at Vrangfoss Locks, the largest and most impressive of the eight lock systems along the canal. Coincidentally, we timed our stop perfectly and had the chance to watch as two leisure boats plus a canoe went through the lock system. It’s interesting to note that all the work – opening and closing of each of the 5 five chambers of the lock system – is still done manually by a team of about 4 people. It takes about 45 minutes to pass through the whole lock system at Vrangfoss.

After our stop at Vrangfoss, our road trip took us away from Telemarkskanalen to Heddal Stave Church, an 800-year-old wooden church and Norway’s largest stave church. Stave churches are a unique feature of Norway’s cultural history. Researches believe there were just under 2,000 stave churches in Norway at one point. Only 28 remain. I’m glad to have added another to my boys’ repertoire. They have now visited three stave churches – Heddal, Lom (last summer’s road trip), and the reconstructed Gol Stave Church in Oslo at the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History.

After exploring Heddal Stave Church and its intricate carvings, we headed up into the mountains for a two-night stay near the mountain top Gaustatoppen and sight-seeing in the area (which will be its own blog post).

Two days later, on our return to Kragerø, we revisited Telemarkskanalen, specifically Dalen. My father pointed out his father’s early childhood home up on the hillside and we discussed the connection to their home in Oslo. At Dalen Hotel we enjoyed a late lunch with a view of the lake before getting back on the road.

   

This wrapped up the experiential family history lesson. I’m grateful to my parents for making this trip possible, and I’m happy my kids now have an understanding of and connection to the name of the Oslo home they visit every summer.

P.S. Would you like to experience the Telemark Canal yourself? You could of course travel to Norway and do so in person, but Netflix also offers you the opportunity to experience the daylong adventure from the comfort of your own coach and at your own pacing at Slow TV: The Telemark Canal (fast forward to 3:36:00 to watch as M/S Victoria nears Vrangfoss Locks).

✨GIVEAWAY!✨ Tickets to Wardruna with Eivør in Los Angeles, Sept 14

Don’t miss this opportunity to experience a one-of-a-kind evening of Nordic music in Los Angeles. On Friday, September 14, Wardruna will be joined by Eivør for an evening like no other. They will be performing at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Downtown LA. Enter my giveaway for a chance to win a pair of tickets to their concert! Keep reading for giveaway details.

Continue reading

Little Norway is making a name for itself in the big world!

I love hearing news of Norway’s influence, or Scandinavia’s in general, out in the big world, especially in the U.S. and when it gets close to home here in Los Angeles. The winter Olympics is always a fun time to be Norwegian. Lately, though, Norway is making a name for itself in other areas as well. Whether it’s film, podcasts, books, music, or sports (besides skiing), there’s something for every Scandinavian enthusiast right now. Here’s a round-up of various Norwegian “sightings” outside of Norway and Scandinavia. How many are you already familiar with?

Film

Right now Angelenos can see The 12th Man, a film about Norwegian history by Norwegian director Harald Zwart. It has a limited engagement at Arena Cinelounge in Hollywood (released in the U.S. on May 4). It is a World War II-set thriller based on the true story of Jan Baalsrud, a Norwegian resistance fighter who was the only one of his 12-member group to escape the Nazis when their sabotage mission failed. The movie follows him as he tries to make his way to neutral Sweden through the Arctic landscape. The Los Angeles Times writes, “World War II-set Norwegian thriller ‘The 12th Man’ has the right stuff.” Catch it before it moves on… There’s even a book, Defiant Courage: A WWII Epic of Escape and Endurance by Astrid Karlsen Scott and Dr. Tore Haug, for those who are particularly curious about Jan Baalsrud’s experience.

Another movie to feature Norway is soon-to-be-released Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Norway’s iconic mountain plateau Preikestolen (The Pulpit Rock) in Western Norway is where Tom Cruise does a spectacular stunt. The movie opens in the U.S. on July 27. View the official trailer with a glimpse of the scene at Preikestolen. A hike to the top of Preikestolen is actually on my Norway bucket list so I’ll be eager to see this movie.

Netflix Series

The Rain isn’t a Norwegian creation but rather a Danish one. It’s a brand new original 8-episode Netflix series that was released May 4. It’s about two siblings who, six years after a brutal virus wipes out most of Scandinavia’s population, join a band of young survivors seeking safety and answers.

And just in case you aren’t aware, there’s a relatively new Norwegian series currently available on Netflix as well. Borderliner, released March 6, is about a police detective who covers up a murder case to protect his family, but then his partner suspects foul play. Newsweek writes, “New Netflix series ‘Borderliner’ is the perfect Scandinavian noir gateway drug.

Podcast

Also going on right now is the new podcast Death in Ice Valley. It explores the still unsolved mystery surrounding a female body found in Norway’s Isdalen (Ice Valley), near Bergen in Western Norway, in 1970. Producers hope to solve the mystery with the help of modern technology that wasn’t available back then and with input from listeners from around the world. There’s even a Facebook group where members can view and further discuss the evidence provided in each episode. The first episode was released April 15, and a new episode drops every Monday.

If true crime, cold cases, mystery, and intrigue are your thing, especially with a foreign touch, then this podcast may be of interest. I’m currently listening to it as the episodes drop and am curious to see how/if this case is resolved.

Authors & Books

Norwegian authors are also making a name for themselves outside of Norway.

Music

It’s been a busy time for Norwegian musicians abroad as well! Kygo, SigridAurora, and Alan Walker all played at Coachella Music Festival in April in Indio, California. Coachella was apparently one of the biggest crowds Kygo has ever played for. Kygo is now wrapping up his “Kids in Love Tour” in Canada and Northeastern U.S. After Coachella, Sigrid was a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (watch appearance here). Kygo will be performing on The Tonight Show on May 14, and Aurora will be performing on Late Night with Seth Meyers on May 23.

Sports

Los Angeles’ Major League Soccer club LA Galaxy signed two Norwegian players for the 2018-19 season, Jørgen Skjelvik and Ola Kamara. The LA Galaxy also has Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic, so Scandinavia is well represented.

And in case you’re not already aware, in honor of Norway’s Constitution Day (May 17) and the signing of its two Norwegian players, LA Galaxy will be hosting a special Norwegian Heritage Night at Stubhub Center in Carson on Friday, May 25. For more information on this event and how to buy tickets, please visit Los Angeles Culture Challenge: May 2018 (17th of May Celebrations & LA Galaxy Norwegian Heritage Night!).

Norway is also making a name for itself in boxing, female boxing to be precise, with Cecilia Brækhus (5 fast facts you need to know). Earlier this month in Carson, California, Brækhus not only continued her whole career win streak and defeated her opponent keeping her titles, but Brækhus’ match was also the first female boxing match to be aired on HBO in the cable network’s 45-year history of boxing coverage.

I hope you enjoyed this eclectic round-up of recent Norwegian sightings in the bigger world. If I missed anything, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Nothing Compares to a Norwegian Shrimp Fest!

Experiencing shrimp the Norwegian way is a special treat. Nothing compares to it in the United States, but attending a Norwegian Shrimp Fest at a Norwegian Church gets you pretty close. And that’s what I had the pleasure of doing earlier this month.

Thank you to Sjømannskirken for letting me use their photo.

This year’s Shrimp Fest at the Norwegian Church in San Pedro took place on St. Patrick’s Day so the ubiquitous green made its appearance. There were green napkins; otherwise, I would have expected red or blue napkins. Also, there was the occasional very green shrimp sitting on the edge of a shrimp bowl. Apparently, it was edible but no one near us was tempted to try it.

The evening was really a very simple and casual affair. Tables were set with large bowls of shrimp (in this case, Arctic Greenland shrimp), freshly baked bread, mayonnaise (real Norwegian mayonnaise!), fresh dill, lettuce leaves, and lemon wedges. Then it was up to the guests to handle the rest themselves. (And the hosts to refill the shrimp bowls, which they did gladly and diligently.)

It was very quiet to begin with as guests set to work peeling shrimp and making their open-faced sandwiches. There’s nothing really too gourmet about this meal. Some people might even be shocked at the amount of mayo that goes into a sandwich. It’s hard to eat fast at a shrimp fest because the shrimp are small and each one takes a few seconds to peel. But the result is certainly worth the effort.

For those of you who are curious about what makes this meal so special, it’s the shrimp. The shrimp enjoyed at Norwegian gatherings are a coldwater species caught at the bottom in the deep waters of the North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans. They are most often cooked and quick-frozen within a few hours of leaving the water.

While we all were enjoying our shrimp, with discussions of what body part to rip off first, the Slow TV program Saltstraumen minutt for minutt was playing in the background. Saltstraumen is the world’s strongest tidal current located near the city of Bodø (about 50 miles north of the Arctic Circle). I was too busy with my shrimp so I didn’t see much of it, but the glimpses I did catch were a perfect accompaniment to the meal.

Thank you to Sjømannskirken for letting me use their photo.

There were other highlights of the evening as well. When guests had started to slow down their peeling and eating, we did a sing-along of the Norwegian song “Rekevisa” (“The Shrimp Song”) as Sverre, the priest, played the guitar. It had the melody of a traditional children’s Christmas song (“Musevisa”, “The Mouse Song”), but the lyrics about a mouse family getting ready for Christmas had been replaced with lyrics about the joys of a shrimp fest. Another highlight of the evening was a quiz. It included multiple-choice questions on a wide variety of topics, some relating to the evening (like “How many species of shrimp are there?”), others totally unrelated (“How many times a day does a person touch their phone?”). It was really the luck of the draw as to who would win, which made it fun for all ages.

We finished off the meal with some vanilla ice cream with chocolate and caramel toppings. As we enjoyed our desserts, we went over the answers to the quiz. I believe I heard the winners came down from Santa Barbara for the Shrimp Fest. They deserved that bag of seigmenn!

When I return to Norway every summer, a shrimp meal is always on my wishlist of foods. The opportunity to enjoy one here in the States with like-minded people was wonderful, and I look forward to next year’s fest!

What Will People Say by Iram Haq: An #OwnVoices Immigrant Story from Norway

I seized the opportunity to see What Will People Say (Hva vil folk si) at AFI FEST 2017 in Hollywood this past November. I’ve read a lot of immigrant stories that take place here in the United States, but immigrant stories by own voices in Norway are unfamiliar to me. What Will People Say was a very powerful film about a first generation Norwegian teenager born of Pakistani immigrants in Oslo. Continue reading

Norwegian (and other Nordic) Films at AFI FEST 2017

Norwegian film has not been a stranger to Los Angeles these last few weeks, and its presence continues at American Film Institute’s film festival AFI FEST taking place now. AFI FEST is an annual celebration of international cinema “from modern masters and emerging filmmakers”. It takes place each fall in Hollywood and features nightly red-carpet galas, special screenings, conversations, and tributes. AFI FEST is free to the public.

This year two Norwegian films are on the schedule. The first one is Thelma written by Norwegian duo Joachim Trier and Eskil Vogt and directed by Joachim Trier. It is a psychological thriller that takes place in Oslo, Norway. It is Norway’s Best Foreign Language Oscar submission. The second film is What Will People Say written and directed by Norwegian Iram Haq (Norwegian-born of Pakistani immigrants). Continue reading