In Focus: Norwegian Constitution Day Creates Cross-Cultural Exchange
The Bemidji chapter of the Sons of Norway held its Syttende Mai festivities at the Concordia Language Villages.
It’s Syttende Mai, or the seventh of May, a day to honor when Norway signed the constitution in 1814. The holiday is considered to be one of the biggest ones during the entire year.
The members of the international organization are using today to educate others about the holiday along with other customs.
They always start with a short, but meaningful parade. The parades are mostly for the children in honor of when only young Norwegians were allowed to march around their towns.
Even while under the threat of Nazi Germany, the Norwegians felt a strong sense of togetherness – wearing a paper clip on their collar to show support. Now, they come together in the same fashion each year.
Attendees got a taste of Norwegian ratatouille and Tosca cake – a Scandinavian favorite. While they enjoyed the meal, Bemidji native Berit Dybing and her band played some folk music in both Norwegian and English.
Dybing studied abroad with the help of a Sons of Norway Foundation Scholarship. She brought along a band mate that she met during her studies. Erland Kløvning says that today’s cultural exchange is mutual.
The Sons of Norway say that anyone interested in the monthly meetings or holiday celebrations are welcome regardless of their heritage.