From my dear Friends Marc & Ragni and their newsletter about their activities with friends & family – shortened though.
We all have our heritage but how we design the here and now is up to us.
Thanks for sharing this with me.
200 years ago in 1814, the Norwegian people drafted their current constitution. It allowed them a regime of relative autonomy from the Swedes, a preamble to the total independence they could not yet afford but finally obtained 91 years later (1905) when they fetched the first king of the current dynasty, a Dane who married an English woman.*
* It took their recent riches of North Sea oil to elevate them from their status of country bumpkins in the eyes of their Swedish neighbors headed by French-born Napoleon relative Bernadotte, renamed Karl Johann, as well as the Danes who ruled Norway for over 400 years.
BEFORE THE PARADE
One of 117 schools marching to Karl Johanns Gate parade, from 3 directions.
It’s mid-morning and they’ve been up early to march in their neighborhood.
A family unit. Mother and daughter have the same folkloric dress.
The men, if not dressed in traditional costume (bunade), wear a ribbon at the lapel.
Joyfully waving a flag is the rule.
The crowd was extraordinary, on account of:
– the day fell on a Saturday,
– the 200th anniversary,
– perfect weather.
The parade is primarily in the main street leading to the king’s castle where the king and his family will stand in the balcony for the 3.5 hours of its duration. The street is named after Karl Johann, the Swedish king who strongly opposed and delayed the independence of Norway, How tolerant for the Norwegians to not have renamed the street !… As soon as Morocco became independent from the French in 1956, almost all the streets, and some cities, instantly lost their French name.
The parade is opened by a military squad, the Royal Guard.
According to a friend, it’s second only to Russians, in terms of marching with acrobatics with their weapons. Each of the 117 schools marches to the same line-up:
– First, the placard identifying the school:
– Then comes the dozen or so large flags:
– Then, often comes the band, sometimes with baton-twirling majorettes:
You can tell the high school senior by their black cap.
– Elementary school kids, ushered by adults, close the march:
We even get to cheer the adult children and grand-children of the friend who hosted us:
10-year old Martin is first of a kind, playing the electronic guitar,
on a leash to his father Halvor carrying the guitar battery and speaker…
40-year old Helge returns our cheers.
He’s months into a new start-up venture.
The handicapped share in the party atmosphere.
THE “BUNAD” Folkloric Dress
Each county has its own design with possible tweaks within a county.
Ragni did not bring her bunad because its bulky and heavy. Back as 1982 she started embroidering one for our daughter Anne. A friend helped her finish the embroidery and the piece is now being expertly assembled, a major task which requires experienced hands.
A white bunad is a rarity.
Continued in the next message:
– The high percentage of immigrants,
– The crowd milling around after the parade.
BRINGING THE IMMIGRANTS INTO THE FAMILY
It’s impressive to see so many immigrants in the parade, a testimony of Norwegian tolerance and forsight. They come from Pakistan, Somalia, Ethiopia, among others.
In our local small town library, French books are only available on a rotation basis; yet there is a section aimed at a bunch of Ethiopians temporarily camped nearby for orientation. Mind you this is no ordinary refugee camp but a posh mountain resort hotel gone bankrupt. These dark skinned Africans must nevertheless feel pretty isolated and out-of-their element in the montainous countryside, not to mentin the rigor of the climate (not only the cold but also the darkness of Winter).
POST-PARADE MILLING AROUND
Cars were banned from the whole downtown area. It took our host 1h30minn to exit their parking, and they even paid $50 for the privilege.
Cost of living is very high in Norway. How about $6 for a single avocado ?!… We brought our own from California, apples and nuts too !….
By means of cell phone we manage to meet friends, in spite of the crowd
Years ago, as part of the AFS high school student exchange, the Teljes (pronounced “Tel-yeh”) hosted the daughter of Palo Alto friends, for one year in a Norwegian mountain town near our cabin.
The dagger is part of a man’s uniform. These lovelies enjoy an enviable status in Norway.
A minimum 40% of corporation board seats is reserved for them.
The current Prime Minister is a woman.
A representative of the Lapp people, an ethnic group of reindeer-herding nomads in the artic North. They enjoy official autonomy and maintain their own language.
We once knew one in California who addressed me as “De Gaulle” and derided the Norwegians as “lazy” !…