Heart Choices: Syttende Mai -->

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Syttende Mai

In case you're wondering what Syttended Mai means it's the 17th of May celebration or Norwegian Independence Day.  This is a major holiday in Norway similar to our 4th of July celebration.  Norwegian Americans like my family celebrate this day too.

You see, I was raised by Vikings.  These are my parents and me below.  They weren't really Vikings but you can't convince my husband Greg of that.  He always laughs about my strength and genetic background.  Scary huh?

The Norwegian Constitution was signed in 1814.  However, Sweden ruled over Norway until 1905.  There is a bit of an ongoing rivalry between these two countries.  I remember hearing jokes like " a thousand Swedes, running through the weeds, chased by one Norwegian."  I guess you have to be Norwegian to get it; lol.

Parades and celebrations are held throughout Norway on May 17th but also in some parts of the US. The Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn is where my parents were raised. It was like Little Norway in the 1920's until the 1960's.
Even my nieces Katie and Kristin were dressed in the Norwegian bunads to celebrate.  Notice the Norwegian dangling pins that are so beautiful.
Of course, food is always involved in Syttende Mai celebrations.  I love to make Norwegian waffles.  The smell of cardamom is sweet and delicious.  Guess what I'm making today? 
Here's my dad with a special cake that's often made for weddings.  It has the most delicious almond taste to it.  I love it!  My grandmother used to make these cakes.

So I'd like to say Happy Syttende Mai to my Norwegian friends and relatives including Sonja, Felisol, L-Jay, Hilde and Grethe Hagen, Dad, Aunt Ruth and so many more ...

Blessings and love,

Debbie Petras
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  1. Oh fun!

    Happy Syttende Mai to you!


  2. Happy Syttended Mai to you! I'm glad I'm just writing it because I know the pronunciation is different! :) I have 3 siblings living in Denmark and I am always fascinated by European culture. Oslo, Norway, Denmark, etc...It's neat to see those pics and know a little bit more about your heritage. Have a fun day! God bless.

  3. Happy Syttende Mai, Deb! Again I find myself astounded at what little I know about you...you are such an interesting person! Thank you for sharing! :D

  4. What a blessed inheritance!
    Thanks for sharing, andrea

  5. Happy Syttende Mai to you! Thank you for sharing. I love hearing about other's celebrations and traditions.

  6. I love all these photos Debbie and the fact that you respect your roots. Hugs.

  7. Hey Debbie~ It's been FOREVER since I've been on your blog!!! You are so cute in your Viking hat! (and so are your parents);-)

    Looking forward to catching up on all you've shared recently...and still praying for you...

  8. Hi Debbie!

    Thanks so much for the wonderful history lesson about the Norwegian holiday. I think it's great that you have these family roots where you can celebrate your wonderful heritage and memories that your parents have passed to you...I would love to have that! I almost married a Danish boy...he also had so much to tell about his family's culture. The cake and "WAFFLE" look wonderful..yum, I can smell the aroma as I type!

    I'm so glad to be visiting today. I still have much to share on my blog, and it's just so wonderful to know that my bloggy friends are still out there, waiting for me! So often, I feel that I am not missed, and that what I have to say won't make a difference, but then I read other blogs, like yours, and find myself enriched with their words and photos...how could I have stayed away so long???

    Have a wonderful day and week, Debbie...you are one of the special ones!


  9. Well Debbie... it's OUR day!!! You did this blog so perfectly, that I'm just going to enjoy yours and let it represent all of us... all day!!! Maybe I'll get one together after the Norway trip in July.

    This was so much fun to visit you and see all of our Norwegian 'stuff'... from the viking horns to the waffles! I am actually making waffles tonight, but unfortunately, they are fat free and don't even resemble the ones you show here. I think I'll just forget mine and come out there and have some with you!!

    Thanks my Norwegian viking sister, this was really special, as is this day... how my mom used to love celebrating this day!

    Big hugs!


  10. P.S....One more thing... those flags!! How I remember my mom lifting her voice in song whenever Norway's national anthem was sung, on tv, or the Olympics. Even though she was a U.S. citizen... her heart always was shared with her Norwegian roots. She LOVED that flag and that land!

  11. Oh how fun!!! I love learning about this! What fun to see how other families celebrate different holidays and how they make memories....you sure have an abundance of wonderful pictures.
    Happy Syttende Mai,

  12. Happy Syttende Mai my friend, love you.

  13. Such a wonderful, rich heritage! How about you make me some of those waffles sometime?


  14. What a neat post! I enjoyed this....

  15. So interesting....Loved reading this post....and so many things I had never heard of before....

  16. Came to yours by accident and are glad course this was a great Syttende Mai post!

    As a Norwegian, I did one myself of course and you're welcome to read it:
    17th of May Constitution or National day in Norway

  17. Dear Debbie,
    I have been so busy, being the hostess of an American apron, I have neither blogged myself nor visited my dear friends.
    There's just so many hours in a day,
    even though we now have more than 17 hours of sunlight. It's pure magic.
    A bit cold though, I have to admit that.
    Most interesting to read about how Norwegian/Americans celebrate syttende mai. Very much like we do, I think.
    My friend Elisabeth,is in New York just now. She brought a Norwegian flag with her in the luggage and said on Facebook she would celebrate syttende mai in the Norwegian Seamen's Church in NY.
    The cake your dad is holding is called a wreath cake, made of grind almonds and powder sugar, mostly. It's delicious, often decorated with tiny Norwegian flags.It's served for celebrations like syttende mai, confirmations, weddings, and Christmas Eve.
    My mother used to be very clever making those, and so is my friend Turid.
    I think I shall have to write about wreath cakes in a food blogg I'm with.
    I actually didn't realize it was that special.
    Thanks for being an eye opener to so much.
    The things you wrote about "Reach out and touch", also is an important issue. For babies primarily, that's been scientifically proven in ww2.
    All humans need to be touched now and then. When we are lost for words, we will often reach out and gently touch a shoulder, or give a hug. I also think of lonely elderly, how one must use time nursing them, and let them feel a gentle touch, not only a hurried hand, packed in plastic gloves.

    Indeed, you are giving food for thoughts.
    Loosing ones home must be hard, whether it is due to lack of money, an earthquake, a hurricane or a fire.
    Except for loosing ones near and dear ones, I cannot think of a more traumatizing situation.
    I think you are coping very well with your grief.
    Gois there right with you, anddare I be so free as to remeber you how the full sentence goes? Psalm 37:Psalm 37
    Of David.
    1 [a] Do not fret because of evil men
    or be envious of those who do wrong;

    2 for like the grass they will soon wither,
    like green plants they will soon die away.

    3 Trust in the LORD and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

    4 Delight yourself in the LORD
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

    5 Commit your way to the LORD;
    trust in him and he will do this:

    6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
    the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

    7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
    do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
    when they carry out their wicked schemes."

    Commit your way to the Lord, trust him, he will do this.
    These are his promises, so you
    certainly are doing the right thing, opening your heart to him. I'm looking forwards to see how he will help and lead you.

    Just by sharing your problems the way you do, are being a great help to me and all your readers.
    May He continue to hold his blessing and protecting hands over you.
    Hugs from Felisol


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