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Easter

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

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Easter in Norway

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Here in Norway, Easter is called Påske and after a long dark winter Norwegians are more than ready to celebrate. They do so by filling backpacks with goodies (mostly chocolate and oranges) and go ‘tur’.

Going tur means getting out. Skiing, hiking and boating are at the top of the list. And this year we’ve been blessed with beautiful weather. It’s a bit nippy here on the southwest coast of Norway, but the sky is clear and SUNNY!

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Jøssingfjord

Here are pictures from this year’s Påske tur

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Gloppedalsvatnet

Songdalstrand, which was once a busy fishing village is now a quaint little tourist attraction, adorned with well-preserved wooden houses. The narrow road leads out to the open coast.

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My kind of town, complete with an outside library!

My kind of town, complete with an outside library!

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Songdalstrand

Rosslandsguden, here we had to trudge through some snow to get up to the Sacrificial Stone and Giant Rossland God’s Head, which dates back to the Iron Age (500 B.C. – 550 A.D.). The God’s Head is actually a replica, the original is in the Dalane Folkemuseum.

This is a duplicate, the real head is in a museum.

This is a duplicate, the real head is in a museum.

I don't even want to know what was sacrificed here...

I don’t even want to know what’s been sacrificed here…

Helleren, is an overhanging rock formation 60 meters long and 10 meters deep. Archaeologists have traced settlements from the early Stone Age here. The two houses standing today date back to the early 1800s and were abandoned in 1920.

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Gloppedalsura, is the site of a tremendous landslide, caused by the melting of glacial ice and is one of the largest in Europe. Blocks as large as houses fell from these steep cliffs.

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There is no way to get all of the landslide into one picture.

We also passed by a frozen lake where we saw cars racing on the ice! We did not join in on the fun… I’m not even sure it’s legal.

Racing on a frozen lake, I don't think so...

Racing on a frozen lake, I don’t think so…

I hope where ever you are in the world – you’re having a fun but safe, Easter also!

I

It’s no trick, there’s no treat

When I moved to Norway with my three young children back in 1989 our lives took a drastic turn.

There were few expats and no international school in our area. If we ever expected to fit in, we had no choice but to learn a new language. There were no more Sunday dinners at grandma’s house, because she now lived thousands of miles away. We soon found ourselves saying goodbye to things we never imagined living without..

There would be no more picnics or fireworks on the Forth of July. No more Valentine’s Day-mailbox in the children’s classroom. No wearing green on St. Patricks Day and no turkey on Thanksgiving. Of course I could always make a turkey dinner on the last Thursday of November but with the kids in school, my husband at work and no parade on TV, it wasn’t the same.

There were no more presents on Christmas Day, because the packages were all given out and opened on Christmas Eve. No more Easter Bunny. It was now the Easter Chicken leaving Easter candy for the children in large paper-mache eggs, and then everyone goes skiing for the day. Mother’s Day was now in March and Father’s day in November.

My children took it all in stride, until they found out there was NO Halloween!

“Fear not,” I explained. “Instead of Halloween there is a tradition here called Lossi. On December 12th all the children dress in costume, go door to door singing Christmas songs and receive treats from their neighbors.”

By the time December 12th rolled around it was dark and freezing in Norway. This meant covering up their costumes with layers of sweaters and jackets, and carrying flashlights. I can still remember my kids that first Lossi, all excited and carrying plastic pumpkins they’d brought over from America to collect their loot in. They didn’t even let their disappointment show when they came home to find their pumpkins stuffed with nothing but tangerines.

That was over twenty years ago. There’s still no Halloween in our town, but they have started to sell real pumpkins and more people are giving out candy instead of tangerines for Lossi now. I guess thats progress.

Halloween is unfortunately not the only thing approaching my home-state of New Jersey this year. Prayers go out to all my friends and family as they brace themselves for the wrath of Hurricane Sandy.