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Thanksgiving Posted by on Nov 29, 2009 in Food, Holidays

First of all, I apologize for the italic font-apparently my computer won’t let me change it at the moment. 
I drudged up an interesting article in the archives of Aftenposten online written by a Norwegian who was curious about the American Thanksgiving tradition.  Siri, en sytten år gammel jente (a 17 year old girl), thought maybe she was jealous of Americans having so many fun helligdager (holidays, such as Valentines Day and Halloween), so she did a little research.  During her research, Siri discovered that there was actually an historical reason for the existence of this helligdag.  As most of us know, Thanksgiving was a tradition that started in the 1600s after the pilgrims arrived to the United States.  The exact date of the first Thanksgiving is unknown, but it is known that Thanksgiving began as a religious holiday to give thanks to
God for the harvest.  Over time, Thanksgiving has become a secular holiday that most Americans celebrate. 
Siri made an interesting comparison to her own country, Norway; Norway has a similar holiday-høsttakkefest.  Since 1899, the State Church of Norway has celebrated høsttakkefest (literally fall-thanks-party) by welcoming fruit, vegetables, and flowers on the altar to represent and give thanks for the good avdeling (crop).  Høsttakkefest is not as recognized a holiday as it once was due to the decreased number of Norwegians who driver med jordbruk (farm).  Those churches who celebrate the helligdag pick a day in oktober that is suitable to bonder og kondisjoner (farmers and conditions). 
A typical amerikansk høsttakkefest (American Thanksgiving) consists of kalkun (turkey) med brunsaus (with brown sauce or gravy), flere slags poteter (several kinds of potatoes) slik som (such as) potetmos (mashed potatoes), and søtpoteter (sweet potatoes) eller kanskje (or maybe) au gratin.  We also eat tranebær (cranberries), usually in a relish or saus, stuffing, og andre grønnsaker (and other vegetables) or salat (salad).  Til dessert spiser vi (for dessert we eat) gresskarpai (pumpkin pie), pekanpai (pecan pie), eller en annen slags pai (or another kind of pie)-this year my dad made søtpotetpai (sweet potato pie).  Thanksgiving is definitely the best helligdag for food-good eats.  I think it will always be around in the U.S., but as for Norway, it sounds like the tradition is dying.  Enlighten me!
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About the Author: kari

I attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where I majored in Norwegian and History. During college, I spent almost a year living in Oslo, Norway, where I attended the University of Oslo and completed an internship at the United States Embassy. I have worked for Concordia Language Villages as a pre-K Norwegian teacher and have taught an adult Norwegian language class. Right now, I keep up by writing this Norwegian blog for Transparent Language. Please read and share your thoughts! I will be continuing this blog from my future residence in the Norwegian arctic!


  1. Jon:

    I like the way you have written this article with the translation beside the american version it makes it easier to learn to read in Norge.