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Syttende Mai

May 17

Syttende Mai

May 17, 2022

Each year Vesterheim celebrates Syttende Mai, Norway’s Constitution Day, with a traditional Children’s Parade and free museum admission. In 2021, Vesterheim hosted an online presentation of storytelling and music. Check back for information about what 2022 holds!

Syttende Mai is the day Norway ratified its constitution in 1814 at Eidsvoll. Syttende Mai is a great opportunity to celebrate freedom wherever it occurs.

In this video from 2021, Norwegian storyteller Anne Elisebeth Skogen joined Vesterheim from Ryfylkemuseet at Sand, Norway, to tell the story, Schoolgirl and My Very First May 17th Parade in 1962. Anne Elisebeth grew up in the little town of Egersund, Norway, south of Stavanger. With an education in drama and storytelling, Anne Elisebeth runs her own storytelling business, telling stories for schools, organizations, festivals, and companies.

Then, Decorah musicians Beth and Jon Rotto (playing fiddle and rhythm guitar, respectively) offered Norwegian and Norwegian-American tunes from the Bethania Church in Vesterheim’s Heritage Park. Beth and Jon are founding members of the dance band Foot-Notes, who have been playing for old-time dances in the Decorah area for over three decades.

Vesterheim is very grateful to Jeff and Marilyn Roverud for their long-time sponsorship of Vesterheim’s Syttende Mai celebration!

Below are some fun family activities to add to your Syttende Mai Celebration!

Learn how to greet people on Syttende Mai! Take this short Norwegian language lesson from Maren Johnson, Assistant Professor of Nordic Studies at Luther College.

Click here for activities that families can do at home together. Be sure to make your own Norwegian flag for your Syttende Mai celebration!

Plus, watch the video instruction on the right for how to make your own waving streamer with things you can find around the house! Thanks to Jennifer Kovarik, Vesterheim’s Youth Educator, for sharing her expertise from home.

Every party needs food and this bløtkake recipe is perfect for Syttende Mai! This version is from Vesterheim Folk Art School instructor Darlene Fossum-Martin, Vesterheim, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2008 – Food for Thought.

Darlene starts with a basic sponge cake that can be adapted for any version of bløtkake and then continues with her special variation of rosemary, pears, raspberries, and kiwi filling. Find the recipe here and enjoy!


May 17
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