Sunday, October 31, 2010

What is going on in Norway in October?

Well, slowly but surely shops have started to sell pepperkake (ginger bread), julemarsipan (Christmas marzipan), kakemann (or Julemann; Christmas man made of dough with a red-coloured sugar hat) and other Christmas specialities, we gave a warm welcome to Ingvar Kamprad who has finally arrived all the way from Sweden (IKEA opened up its 6th store in the country in Kristiansand), the mornings are starting to get darker and colder, but apart from these, some other things happened in the last some days that are worth talking a little more about.

Last Sunday (24th October) we had a national charity campaign called TV-aksjon, organised by NRK which is the national broadcasting corporation in Norway. It has been organised every year since 1974, always in one of the last weekends in October. This is a day when every single door in Norway has been knocked on and people can donate money for a good purpose, this year they could support political refugees. There are numerous TV-programs on the state channel so that everyone is up-to-date about what is going on. Of course not only households participate but many organisations and the government itself and this year, the country donated the amazing sum of over 204 million crowns (approx. 35 million USD/25 million EUR/21 million GBP). This is actually the third biggest amount of money that they have managed to collect in the history of this campaign.

Anyways, it has been knocked on the doors not only last but this weekend, too... Eventhough the tradition of Halloween in Norway is very young, there are some 'trick or treat' kids out there and it's getting more and more popular to have parties at home. The Halloween parties a la norvégienne are quite close to what I have in mind about US Halloween parties – at least the one I attended had a lot of artificial blood and spider net all over, several salty and sweet pumpkin based dishes and spooky ghost story telling at midnight.
Growing up in Hungary I got used to the fact that 1st of November is a holiday (in the sense of the word that you don't go to work). Well, it's not like this in Norway. I guess All Saints (or as it's called here Allehelgensdag) is not that important in a traditionally Protestant (Lutheran) society where saints don't have an as big meaning as in the Catholic Church. So the first time in my life, I will go to school on a 1st November tomorrow. It feels quite a bit strange.

And last but not least... Yesterday a 23-year old Stavanger girl, this year's Norwegian Miss World contestant got chosen to be the 5th most beautiful woman of the world in China. Gratulerer, Mariann Birkedal. I hope that with the help of your beauty you can someday make this world a better place.

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