In Focus: Sons Of Norway Bemidji Lodge Celebrates Syttende Mai
If you were to travel to Norway today, you’d a see celebration unlike any other.
“In Norway, it’s children. For example in Oslo, 60,000 school kids march down, and the king and the queen and their kids and grandkids are all waving to the 60,000 kids and their bands and all because they are so proud,” says Lois Egelhof, a member of the Sons of Norway Bemidji Lodge.
There’s a lot of proud Norwegians in the Bemidji area, so naturally the city has its Syttende Mai Festival.
“What we’re doing here today is we’re celebrating Syttende Mai, or in Norway a lot of times they’ll call it Nasjonaldagen. It’s the national day that in 1814 Norway signed it’s constitution on this day,” says George Olson, the president of the Sons Of Norway Bemidji Lodge.
The evening starts with a social hour, followed by a parade and, of course, a three-course meal. It’s basically bringing a little piece of Norway to Bemidji.
Judy Tobin, the treasurer for the Sons Of Norway Bemidji Lodge, says, “When I was a little girl, my mother was Norwegian and she would talk about it, but that was as far as it went and we never really celebrated it, so I’ve been really happy to join Sons of Norway so that I am able to do that now with my heritage.”
The day means a few different things to a lot of people. For some, it’s about celebrating the Norwegian culture and keeping it alive for future generations.
“We honor, I think, our parents and our ancestors when we carry on the traditions of our heritage,” says Tobin.
Egelhof adds, “It’s a wonderful way to touch back in history and to look forward and see all the changes that have happened in the world and the positive things coming.”
And you don’t have to be Norwegian to celebrate.
“It’s always good fellowship, a good conversation and definitely good food so, yeah, anybody can come. Anybody is welcome to any of our events,” said Olson.
To learn more about the Sons of Norway Bemidji Lodge, check out their Facebook page here.