Dona Nobis Pacem, a Latin phrase, means “Give Us Peace” or “offering us peace”. Again this year, I take the opportunity to join Blog Blast for Peace with my saying: ‘Make Blogs not Wars’. As I strongly believe that Social Media empowers people, I want to give my share:
So what has Peace to do with Blogging? To me it’s simple:
Blogging….: to quote myself again: ‘….. Connecting people’, as we in Blogsphere share our daily life, our thoughts, ideas and experiences – from our own perspective – from our part of the world. We share knowledge and by that we are breaking down cultural, religious and other barriers.
The Peace Globe Project began in the fall of 2006 with a simple post. The post ignited a flame in the blogosphere – The flame became a passion – The passion became a movement – and I want to be a Passionate Participant! Today of course, you’ll find it at Facebook Too!
I have never experienced anything as effective in connecting people across the world as blogging. I have been writing RennyBA’s Terella for almost 8 years now and have met many amazing people and I myself am more aware of happenings across the world today because of the friends I have made in the blogsphere… and I am old enough to know when something is revolutionizing the globe – I am 61 years old today. Blogging for Peace; what a good way to celebrate!
Our family tradition, hunting for Easter Bunny Eggs, is one of my dearest and may be one of the best examples of recreational outdoor activity in the Norwegian woods. Every year the feeling of anticipation and excitement takes me down the memory lane. You may say I’m a bit childish, but I’m just fine with that and it’s important to get into the right spirit – and of course: you have to love being outdoors too.
The Easter Egg and Bunny or Hare thing dates back to pagan times and is more about fertility and a celebration of spring than recent Christian Easter traditions. Honored in many rite-of-Spring festivals, during the span of history, eggs represented mystery, magic, medicine, food and omen. So it represented the rebirth of the earth – the long, hard winter was over – the earth burst forth and was reborn just as the egg miraculously burst forth with life.
But lets get back to the outdoors hunt and you are welcome to join us around the bonfire as I go on with the story and show some photos:
Of shore, resting after the Egg hunt at the bonfire.
The hunting is of course the most exciting part and you may wonder how the eggs get there and how we find them. Well, when I was young my dad did it – but since this is something of important passing on to generations: nowadays my sister and I walk a bit ahead, to see if we can find some bunny footprints.
When we were children, my parents told me they did, so then it had to be true, and it has never been questioned in the family. It’s just the same as Santa brings the gifts of course. People who don’t believe in this have missed out on something important from their childhood I think.
Also I hope you see why this should be an outdoor activity: You have to find the eggs in the Bunny’s natural surroundings! And tell me; what can be more recreational than sitting around a bonfire, smelling spring is in the air, listening to the sounds of birds and eating hotdogs grilled on the bonfire:
So now I hope you understand the excitement in my Easter anticipation and why it’s so important to me to hold on to this childish, family tradition of believing it is the Easter Bunny who laid the eggs. To sum it up in one collage photo:
So here it is – from me to you: A new Easter Egg hunt family tradition for free!
February 10, 2013 marks the beginning of the Chinese Year of the Snake. I’ve decided to get off to a fortunate start this year by sending out Chinese New Year post to all Asian and Chinese friends. So “恭喜發財” (gung hay fat choy) or “恭喜发财” (gong xi fa cai) to you all! I do it since my blog is about cultures, traditions and habits – mostly Norwegians of course – and over the years I’ve got plenty of friends all over the world and learned a lot about others. By sharing mine, the comments to my posts and links to others in Blogsphere have been an example to me as a network enthusiast: A Givers Gain! These years of blogging have increased my social awareness and also curiosity to listen and learn as I have had the chance to experience some Chinese culture adventures in Norway too. It’s summed up in a collage I’ve made tonight:
Frank Woo inspires Norway with Chinese Art:
We were invited to the opening of the Chinese painting exhibition by Frank Woo in Lillestrøm (1/2 hour drive north east of Oslo). Frank is my wife Diane’s best friend’s brother. Impressed by his personality and fabulous work, I gladly shared this art adventure with you (and repeat it in this post):
Born in Hong Kong, Frank Woo’s artwork shows an inspirational blending of traditional Chinese colours and textures mingled with modern art and raw emotion. He is a self-taught painter, trained in print-making in Hong Kong. His travels and burning desire for inspiration brought him to Japan, to Tokyo’s Bunka Fashion College to complete his Degree in Illustration.
Chinese Food Song and Dance in Oslo:
We’ve had special visitors from Xinjang, China in 2007 as part of the Chinese Cultural week giving a breath taking performance in Oslo Concert Hall. Before the show a Chinese friend of mine, Cong, invited my wife and I, plus four others to dinner. I love Chinese food as it is very different and very tasty, although a bit spicier than Norwegian food. The restaurant has a nice Chinese ambiance and the setting puts us into the right mood for the evening.
Talking about my friend Cong and what I have achieved by sharing experiences and culture: Among a lot she is a lecturer and writer on Chinese Culture and Thinking teach Chinese Language at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Click and take a look at some of her Chinese Wisdoms interpretation!
To me these are example of how much you can learn from blogging, sharing and being curious about others – just like one of my sayings: Blogging and other Social Media break down cultural, religious and other barriers. That’s way I by this want to say: Happy New Year of the Snake from Norway!
Christmas or Yuletide and New Year are connected to very old traditions and important celebrations in Norway. Keep in mind we are on top of the northern hemisphere. After a long period of darkness and cold, no wonder people needed a break and celebrated “the return of the sun” – with wild feasts that lasted for days. These traditions are all based on folklore and myths since the return of the sun has an important influence on our daily life and calls for special celebrations. Imagine: In our capital Oslo (latitude of 60° North) right now has 6 hours of daylight with the sun really low on the horizon at midday, compared to 19 hours and hardly no dark at all at summer solstice.
In this post I`ll share some of the typical Norwegian Christmas and New Year traditions – the happiest season of the year – and I have made some photo collages to illustrate which I hope you like (click to bigify and enjoy!):
Christmas trees became common in Norway from around 1900 and I guess you know it’s originally from Germany. Before presents are opened, we “go around the Christmas tree”; all the family holds hands to form a ring around the tree, and walk around the tree singing Yuletide carols. It was fun but hard when I was a child, only to see all the presents – however the adults knew we would be far too busy after opening them – so walking around and singing first, then the presents : -)
Most everyone has either a spruce or a pine tree in their living room – decorated with white lights, tinsel, Norwegian flags and other ornaments for Christmas. As a child and with my children of course, we made paper baskets of shiny, colored paper. The baskets can be filled with candy or nuts. Chains made of colored paper are also very popular.
To see a tree decorated outdoors is a new thing, but also more and more common. To the right in the pic, you see my parents tree on their balcony. Notice the bowl with Christmas porridge at the bottom and beside it: The Yule Log painted as a Nisse (more details below!).
Christmas food traditions – the Smorgasbord:
For thousands of years we have developed our food preservation traditions and our folk tales have over time become mixed with other European folklore, like for example Santa Claus (Nisse). All of this comes to mind when visiting my parent’s home for the Christmas Day smorgasbord. The house is filled with Yuletide spirit, decorations and food traditions which have been in our family for generations. Counting about 15 people, there is always a lot of food left, so join us, sit in and enjoy my childhood’s food feast memories in the photo. There will be served e.g. Ham, Pork Ribs, Tongue, Roast Beef, Lam Roll & Lever Pate and of course Salmon & Herring.
Remember all these are homemade with fresh meat coming directly from the butcher – made with love and care, based on recipes past on for generations! Just by thinking of it, especially when I enter my parents’ house this special day, I am literary taken down the memory lane – just by closing my eyes. I remember mom and grandma in the kitchen almost the entire month of December; the smell, the atmosphere, the excitement and the anticipation. There was something in the air – it was Christmas – the most wonderful time of the year!
Sweets and Nisse too of course:
If you thought the food and the feast ends here, you are wrong! No, when you are filled up with pork and lamb and ham and maybe had a short walk or a power nap to digest at least a bit, then the special homemade sweets were on the table. Typical it would be the home made marzipan served in a very old confect box and of course the Ring cake (in Norwegian, Kransekake).
Behind the top of the cake, you see some Santas or Nisse as we call them in Norway. So let me tell you a bit about him:
A Nisse is a mythical creature of Scandinavian folklore originating from Norse paganism – actually close to what we call an elf. He was believed to take care of a farmer’s home and children and protect them from misfortune, especially at night, when the house folk were asleep – type Fjøs Nisse (Fjøs = barn).
Nisse is the common name in Norwegian, Danish and the Scandinavian dialect in southernmost Sweden is Tomte and Tonttu in Finland. He was often imagined as a small, elderly man (size varies from a few inches to about half the height of an adult man), often with a full beard; dressed in the everyday clothing of a farmer. However, there are also folktales where he is believed to be a shape-shifter able to take a shape far larger than an adult man, and other tales where the Nisse is believed to have a single, cyclopean eye.
In the 1840s the farm’s Nisse became the bearer of Christmas presents in Denmark, and was then called Julenisse (Yule Nisse). This mythical character then turned into the white-bearded, red-capped friendly figure associated with Christmas ever since. Shortly afterwards, and obviously influenced by the emerging Father Christmas traditions as well as the new Danish tradition, a variant of the Nisse, called the Julenisse in Norway and Jultomte in Sweden, started bringing the Christmas presents in instead of the traditional Julbock (Yule Goat).
Ihope you have enjoyed my reminiscing of my childhood and a walk down memory lane. Christmas Eve is now upon us and its time not only to remember our traditions but to give them to our own children and families.
From all of us here to all of you: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Happy blogaversary to Terella.no! As many of you may remember from previous years, my adventure with blogging started out as an experiment. I was lecturing a class in “Technology Business and the Society” at the Norwegian School of Management and among the topics was a new phenomenon; Blogging. Considering myself a network evangelist, the concept fascinated me and I decided to try starting my own blog. After a short time I was addicted as it seems blogging filled several needs in my personal interests. It filled my need to be social and meet new people, it fulfilled my interest in networking, my passion for technology, and last but not least it enhanced my enthusiasm for photography providing a place to share my interests with people from all around the world.
Blogging connecting people:
Over the years I have experienced many new and interesting things because of my blog. I have met new people who over the years have become good friends to me. I now have friends all over the world, and have both visited other bloggers and had many visitors in my homeland because of our connection through blogging.
Oslo Blog Gathering in 2010 is a good example of how blogging has brought myself and others together. Not only did I get the opportunity to meet many of my readers face to face, but many of those who started reading my blog have become friends with each other have built new friendships and new networks out from people they met in Oslo.
Living the good life through blogging:
In recent years living a good life – or as the Italians say “La Dolce Vita” has become more and more important to me! When I came down with Parkinson’s disease a few years ago I had to learn to slow down and give more focus to enjoying life. I quickly experienced that blogging also enhanced my personal enjoyment and quality time with my wife DianeCA. Diane shares my interest in photography and social media, and together our quality time together grows when we share it with others.
We both enjoy photo hunting and trying to capture the magic of the day, the season or the moment. We often enjoy what we are doing that much more while we are imprinting a memory that we will later share with others. We have also traveled around Europe over the last few years and met up with some of our blogging friends. Almost anywhere we wish to travel we already know someone we can contact in that land.
Expanding to other social media – a bonus not a replacement:
In the past couple of years some of the time I used to spend blogging has gone over to new forms for Social Media such as Twitter, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. I don’t see these things so much as a competition to my blog as an enhancement. I use them to keep in daily contact with friends from the blogsphere – and while I may blog less often than I did in the beginning, I like to keep my theme – Norway and the Nordic countries; our culture, traditions and habits while keeping the quality of my posts at a high level. I feel it is more important that the reader learn something interesting from my posts then that they follow my daily movements.