Australia, History & Traditions

Hurra for Norge – May 17th

fjord Lars Stana

Ja vi elsker dette landet,

Som de stiger frem ….

In fact, Norway has had three national anthems. The first, written in 1772, by Johan Nordahl Brun with talk of “blood on the teeth…” Bit scary! But then they are Vikings… Then in 1819, Henrik Hans Bjerregaard wrote Sons of Norway, and finally, in 1864, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnsson wrote the words in the video which remain the anthem today.Not only was the anthem heard, but also “Mellom bakker og berg et med havet” was sung by the Scandinavian singers in the Thyme interactive Restaurant at the Sofitel Luxury hotel in Brisbane today.

Why?

Because it was a “fest” for Norway’s birthday… 198 years old today, (since separation from Denmark) or if you prefer, 107 years since independence from Sweden. Gratulerer med dagen Norge.

Hurra Hurra Hurra!

The celebration started officially last Thursday, when on Syttende Mai (17th May) the Norwegian students from QUT university here organized the street march through Brisbane.  This really confuses the people of Brisbane who can’t really recognize the flag. I love seeing their faces as all the Norwegians walk along singing at the top of their voices. And street marches are illegal in this state of Queensland, so I like the fact that one can legally stop the traffic in this way.

And the celebrations really got up and going with the “Constitution Day” buffet at the Thyme restaurant at the Sofitel Luxury Hotel. The roll-up each year just gets bigger and bigger!! Over 80 diners this year combined to eat, feast, sing and celebrate. Me included.

And the seafood on offer would make a Viking proud….. Chilli crab, Prawns the size of a large man’s fist (Scandinavians take note!) Whole baked snapper, Mussels, Oysters, Salmon, Scottish peppered mackerel, as well as several roasts, pappadums, curry, salads, veggies and I won’t begin to discuss the desserts. I will let the pictures tell the story.

Trondheim

Now I am several kilos heavier, and that is something I don’t want to ponder about for too long. What I will ponder about is that England stuck its nose into Scandinavian affairs making Norway war spoils in return for Sweden backing England against Napoleon.

In fact, forcing Norway to accept Swedish control or else they would blockade all imports to Norway in 1814. What bastardry was this? Forcing people to starve so that they could win economic and political advantage in the region? Abhorrent. And dare I say, typical of England self-important ego.

So this is how Norway had to wait almost another 100 years until they gained full independence as a country.  Not a good day for Napoleon, Denmark or Norway. I guess a good day for Sweden!!

Something for Swedes to ponder about…

39 thoughts on “Hurra for Norge – May 17th”

    1. I wasn’t aware of that, Ineke! Lovely to celebrate the independence and begin a new tradition. So they have parades in the streets and feasting?

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          1. Yes, it’s sad. We always had lots of items at school that we had to prepare and then performed them usually at school. We also had big gatherings in the main cities. Was always May 31, our Republic day. WE became a Republic away from England in 1961.

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          2. Nice memories. There is a movement to stop Australia day because of what indigenous people went through. Why can’t they have two days to celebrate?

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          3. In New Zealand Waitangi Day has similar issues to Australia day, although I think New Zealand is a lot further down the track than Australia in acknowledging the harm done to the indigenous peoples by the British and European settlers. There are some hard questions to be asked about what is being celebrated on a national day, particularly if that day is skewed towards people who subjugated the original people of that place, so the indigenous people don’t feel very celebratory about their arrival.

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          4. I absolutely agree with you Jane. It is time to correct and admit to the terrible injustices of the past that has been wrought upon indigenous peoples from across the whole world, the Inuit and American native Indians as well. However, I feel that we an celebrate both cultures. I always feel that we are celebrating the country the manifestation of the country that exists today, not so much the roots. That is what we celebrate. Does having an Aussie barbeque with friends or having a parade pay tribute or dishonour the indigenous? Or celebrate the freedom we have now? I agree New Zealand has progressed further with this issue. What has held Australia back?

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          5. Yes I’m okay thanks for asking. Lot of up and downs during the days but I try to stay calm . Glad the weather is good up to now, it helps to keep the depression at bay too. I still walk my walks every day with Trompie which is a plus because I’m over 70 and need to be more careful. I do shopping on-line which helps a lot. How are you going in your new place? Lots of love to you.

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          6. Thanks so much. Lots of love back. It sounds like you are being really pro active with your physical and mental health. Well done. Trompie will take care of you too! Are you still able to see Bea in this crisis? When is the next bub due?

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          7. PS. We love living in our new place, Ineke. We have made loads of new friends here, just can’t see them atm. I have taken leave from work, so will be catching up with family history, crafts and blogging. I spend a lot of time drawing and writing – on my blog. The weather is lovely at the moment, shame it won’t last long before the winter cold. Take care and stay well.💚

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          8. No, I think that is best. Although folks are getting impatient for socializing. The curve is flattening and it is easter, so some will break the restrictions. They had an Easter egg hunt in the next street. Eek!

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  1. Do you have any thoughts on the current differences between Norway and Sweden in response to COVID-19? Norway is following the general pattern of much of the world, going into a lockdown mode. While Sweden is determinedly staying as open as they can, while gradually reducing the amount of contacts between people, but not yet closing all schools or the hospitality industry. Interestingly, deaths are rising at a rate in Sweden that doesn’t parallel the confirmed cases, suggesting that the cases are being underreported. Another example of Sweden and Norway taking different paths?

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    1. Hi Jane, This is a very old post from my early blogging days that I made some minor edits too due to formatting changes. It seems strange that it has popped up again as it relates to May 17th parades.
      Anyhow, with regard to the differences with the Scandinavian countries and their reaction to Covid, yes I think they should aim for consistencies, as there is so much traffic between the three or four countries, especially via ferries. Like Cruises, the self serve buffets are unfortunately a high risk in terms of disease transmission, so it would be prudent to close all borders. Sweden is slower to do this, and I think each country has to make its own decisions. The differences in policy has played out, in Australia, as well. Differing states have different policies, some schools are open, other’s closed. It leads to a lot of confusion. But again, each Government thinks differently. This is the problem with state-federal relations and one which America seems to be facing as well?

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      1. New Zealand has major differences in the relationship between European settlers and indigenous peoples because the Maori fought back and the British had a considerable degree of respect for them, most likely because of that. The Treaty of Waitangi created a document setting out the expectations of the Crown from the outset and is used to guide decisions regarding reparation today. In contrast, Australia has no such guiding document and little evidence of original generalised, or government-level respect for the indigenous peoples. I would hazard a guess that these attitudes have coloured behaviours through the last 150 years. The tricky bit about celebratory days is the question of what is being celebrated. And what the descendants of the indigenous inhabitants have to celebrate.

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        1. I agree we need more sensitivity to the feelings of the native descendants and their traumatic history. Two separate events or dates might eliminate confusion, one a remembrance and honouring day and the other a celebration of a cohesive inclusive society evolved from the wrongs of the past. It must be terribly difficult for someone to watch partying on a day that they feel is sorrowful. But I also think it is harder for us living in this time to judge too harshly folks living then. They had neither the knowledge nor experience, awareness or education to think as we do now. Mind you, that doesn’t condone past crimes/ actions by any stretch of the imagination. I think the British did respect Maori more because they did fight back. Maori were fierce and had the numbers to overpower a few soldiers with muskets. The British could not risk annihilation. This makes it sadder however for the first nation Australians, and their acceptance of the British reflects their easy going, trusting and inclusive nature. That mentality did not figure on British radars in that era. It was all about conquest and domesticating the savages, along biblical lines.

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    1. Me too, Lisa. They draw me in, and I thought it was because Australia has so few traditions of its own. Maybe there is another factor at work? Longing for heritage/community?

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      1. If Maori are not indigenous to NZ then who are you suggesting is? If you are referring to the ‘Moriori’, that is a historic story that got rewritten some considerable time ago. Otherwise, I am not sure what you mean by ‘not real indigenous’.

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          1. In the final analysis everyone comes out of Africa but I am not sure that is very meaningful? The Moriori were the inhabitants of the Chatham Islands, east of the South Island. They came from the mainland in the 1500s then were nearly all killed by Taranaki Maori in the late 29th century. I won’t repeat the old and incorrect material so as to avoid propagating wrong stories.

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          2. Interesting facts about the Moriori – I assume you meant 19th Century, not 29th century, unless the Moriori follow a more ancient calendar? Were they Polynesian in origin too?

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          3. No worries. As I know little of their history, I did not want to assume anything. The roamings of ancient people is quite fascinating. It reminds me of Thor Heyerdahl and his theoriesabout migration across the Pacific from the East, even though they were mostly debunked.

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          4. There was definitely some voyaging across the Pacific – kumara got to New Zealand and it originates in South America. However genetics (mitochondrial DNA) says that Maori are actually closely related to Taiwanese people.

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