Nationalism!

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Not in a bad way!

 

The Norwegian constitution day was 17th of may, which all Scandinavians probably know. But if you’re not Danish, do you know when Denmark has their constitution day? Me neither.

Two years ago, when me and Allan first started dating, I visited him in the start of June. He had a long weekend so i traveled from Oslo to see him. As we were walking to the train station I noticed that the busses where flagging (as they often do) and I asked him “why do the busses flag today?” He answered in a casual way, “oh, it’s Denmark’s constitution day”. Wait what? How can this pass by almost unnoticed? You have to understand that where I come from this day isn’t something that just flies by. No, in Norway you can’t miss 17th of may even if you wanted to.

This is roughly how 17th goes down:
– Wake up a little too early (especially if you have been celebrating the day before as well)
– Put on your national costume, bunad, and look adorkable.
– Either watch your local school’s parade with a banner for each grade or travel to the city center and watch the bigass parade with schools from all over Oslo, accompanied by marching bands and the King’s garde.
– Go home to your family and eat the biggest brunch this side of summer.
– If you have children, go to your local school for waffles and games.
– If you are a young adult or a high school graduate (also called “russ”) party your ass off.

 

There is a few variations to this recipe, but most Norwegians do it this way.

Every 5th of June I’ve been to Copenhagen, I’ve not seen a single parade. Not even a speech. I have heard rumours that they exist, but I’ve also heard rumours that wizards are real, but where’s my fucking wand?

The obvious reason for the big differences in celebration is that Norway is a quite young country. Sweden and Denmark have tossed us back and forth between them like the little brother we are, and after we finally got our constitution in 1814, we have been occupied one more time.
I think another reason why we have so different relation to our national costumes is that the Danish is kind of, umh, interesting? I won’t say ugly, but I won’t say flattering either. I’m just sayin’

  Danish national costume

 I love that we can out on our wierd 1800’s farmers cosplay once a year and celebrate that we have the right to fuck up our own country. Hurra!

Weddings

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In the last month I have tripled the amount of weddings I have attended. The last four weekends = four weddings, and I ain’t even complaining. Well, I am lying a bit. There were actually three weddings, where one of which where held over two different weekends. They were all very beautiful, but that is (mainly) not what I am going to talk about. Oh no, we have a serious matter at hand: Danish wedding traditions.

The Danes have mostly the same traditions as the rest of Scandinavia, but it seems like they didn’t think it was enough, so they added some of their own. Since I have been to two Danish weddings and one Norwegian during the last month, I have gotten to study this more closely.

I really don’t know where to begin. There are so much craziness going on at these weddings.

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Wedding 2.0

We get to the venue of the wedding dinner and party and everything seems normal. There’s a couple of speeches and the usual awkward specially written songs. Suddenly someone starts tapping their glasses and plates with their cutlery. I know this one, it means the newlyweds have to kiss. And they do and everyone cheer. But then they start making other noises and the couple have to crawl under the table and up on the chairs. I don’t even… Don’t they know how awful it is moving in a corset and crinoline? It’s torture! Let alone crawl around?! What is this sadism on the poor bride?!

The Danes are apparently very fond of kissing. At one point I was told that I had to go up to the groom and kiss him, although I have met him once before in my life and he is a complete stranger to me. Not to mention that he got married today. This was the most awkward tradition. The tradition is that whenever one of the couple leave the room, the rest of the party is supposed to kiss the person still sitting at the table.

I survived the dinner with just a few embarrassments. Then there were time for the bridal waltz! I have always thought this was such a romantic moment. And it was.. until the party surrounded the couple so they couldn’t move, then they picked the groom of the floor, ripped of his shoes and cut his socks. Yeah, you heard me, they ruined the probably quite expensive and probably brand new socks. Why, you ask me. I cannot find a reasonable answer. (Then again, the Danes aren’t known for being extremely logical.. just take a look at their number system). I did some research and it turns out that they are supposed to do the same with the bride’s veil. The more ripped up it is, the more happiness they get. Lucky for the them they didn’t wear a veil.

And then there are some traditions which I didn’t witness, but have later read about. I think it’s mainly old traditions though (or so I hope), because I would be pissed if this happened to me at my wedding: The couple have to sneak away from the party without anyone noticing so the groom’s friends won’t follow them. They also have to keep the wedding night venue a secret so the groom’s friends won’t find it. If they do they will ruin the room, spread bread crumbs over the bed and generally try to ruin the wedding night as much as possible. I guess the groom didn’t have such good friends back in the day.

This last one I am pretty sure is really old, because it would be looked upon as very kinky in modern age. You know there is always someone who plays the role of witnesses during a wedding? Well, their true purpose was to witness the wedding night so that they would know that the wedding was legally binding. Yeah, I would think that was pretty kinky to, but if you’re in to that kind of thing, who am I to judge?

 

But all jokes aside, I love traditions and it’s so beautiful to be witness (not that kind of witness) to this kind of celebration of love. Hooray!

Yeah, I preformed at my morthers seremony. So beautiful.

Yeah, I preformed at my morthers seremony. So beautiful.

The Danish Language

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Disclaimer: this is meant a bit ironic and as a joke. I mean no ofene or disrespect, and I really like the Danish language.

Ah, yes, the Danish language. I feel like this is a matter that needs to be discussed. You see, for us Norwegians reading the Danish Language is like reading Norwegian letters from the 1800’s, but when they open their mouth and speak it’s just.. how can I describe it.. they have a potato in their mouth…

I’m not saying this to be mean, but when I was a kid we used to try to take a small potato in the back of our mouth and then pretending to talk Danish. This is common knowledge for everyone, perhaps except the Danes themselves. Because if they knew, one would think they would change their speaking habits. But no, they keep saying “røget ørred fra Rødovre” or as they would pronounce it: “Rø rørø fø rørørø”.

Please Danes, don’t you see that this reflects badly on the rest of us in Scandinavia. With your counting in snes and when I, out of habit say “good bye” (hade bra) to the guy behind the counter in the store, he replies “thanks..umh.. likewise”. You don’t understand what I mean if I don’t use your type of good bye. And people, the Danish way to say good bye translate directly to “hi hi”. Double negative is positive or something? What?

You can’t even understand yourself. Danish media announced that films spoken in Danish will be subtitled with Danish text because Danish actors mumbles too much. If you don’t understand what I mean watch this Norwegian sketch on the subject.

Although, I have heard that there is some advantages with this “special” language. As my friend Jorg told me: “According to legend, in Denmark during World War II, border guards would screen homecoming Danes by making them say aloud the name of the Danish dessert rødgrød med fløde—berry pudding with cream. (To approximate the sound of these words, say them while gargling and whistling.) Apparently, even the craftiest Danish-seeming German infiltrator could not pass this simple test. The Danish ear recognized its own.”

Fortunately, to my grandmothers disapproval, I am taking a Danish course in January and perhaps then I will see the beauty of your language, sweet Danes.

Ps. Sorry if you got kränkt.

stop-talking

Special bond

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I’ve read a lot of Scandinavia and the world comics lately. I think the writer has really hit something right on the spot. I love how she describes the relationship between Norway and Denmark. They are like best friends, lovers and brothers at the same time (that didn’t sound right). I feel like Norwegians and Danes are a bit like that. No offence Sweden, I like you a lot, but there’s just something special about the bond Norway and Denmark possesses.

I don’t know why though. Can anyone tell me?

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