Because my birthday was spent travelling back from Seljestad, I didn’t have a cake on the day, so I was delighted when my friend Lynne invited me over for lunch on Friday and made me one. As usual, she listened to me very patiently as I rambled on about writing, she let me cuddle her beautiful baby daughter and we ate some wonderful food including a perfectly baked and tastefully decorated coffee sponge. As she handed me my slice, (we ate it before before the main course… actually we ate it after the main course as well, what could be better than that?) she commented that she had decided that 2014 should be a year of decadence. I can’t help being inspired by that concept, and so, on a dark Winter’s morning, not quite half-way through January, what better way to spend some time than in planning some of this year’s celebrations.
Burns Night – 25th January
A quick recce in the cellar indicates that we still have two haggi, one frozen and one tinned. Better still, I see that Burns night this year falls on a Saturday, so we will be able to toast the haggis with something a little stronger than Irn Bru (which is probably just as well as we don’t have any).
Candlemas – 2nd February
A new one on me this, though if it involves candles it is right up my street. Nothing better on a chilly winter’s day than a warm woodstove and a battalion of candles. In fact, given sufficient candles, you don’t really need the wood stove, as we discovered after Christmas. 38 candles in a room apparently warm it up rather well. Candlemas day marks the mid-point of winter, half way between the shortest night and the spring equinox. I prognosticate a lovely roast dinner in addition to a veritable plethora of candles.
Valentine’s Day – 14th February
Obviously this should be celebrated in the traditional manner… with lots of chocolate. Bring it on!
Shrove Tuesday – 4th March
Need I say more?
St Piran’s Day – 5th March
A new one on me this. Apparently St Piran is the patron saint of Cornwall. Surely this must be a great excuse to make and eat Cornish pasties!
Vernal Equinox – around 20th March
There seems to be rather a theme developing here regarding food. I feel that perhaps the Spring Equinox should be celebrated by getting outside: maybe going for a special walk to the top of a hill. Obviously this will be weather dependent, but perhaps I will be able to don a hat and some gloves, and can drag my friend Marian off somewhere and indulge in a picnic and some hot coffee whilst admiring some wonderful vista. Sounds good to me!
N.B. Marian, if you are reading this, it was poetic licence about me dragging you. I know you have Bikje to do that!
Easter Sunday – 31st March
As well as the Easter Egg Hunt, Easter is generally another excellent excuse for another Christmas-style roast dinner. Bring on the honey-roast parsnips! Better still, I made two Christmas puddings this year, (technically last, for all the pedants who are reading this) and I feel that Easter would be the perfect time for consuming the second of these. I understand from Charlie that we may be spending part of the holidays in Seljestad, so if we can spend some time skiing, we will be able to work up an even better appetite for the feast.
17th May – is Norway’s national day
On 17th May each year, Norway celebrates its independence with marching bands and children’s parades. Despite being a national day, 17th May is very inclusive and everyone is welcome to go along and wave a flag. It’s lovely to see all the women dressed up in their Bhunad, but as I look at Charlie every year, proudly dressed in his kilt, I have to say that I prefer Scotland’s national dress for men.
Whitsun – 19th May
I can recall as a child having Season Pudding at Whitsun. Season pudding is made with bread and oats and onions, and is rather like a glorified and crunchy stuffing. Served with plenty of good gravy, it’s definitely one of my favourite meals. We only had it twice a year, the other occasion being Boxing Day and as I love it dearly, I think this is a tradition that I should definitely revive this year.
Anyway, the next big occasion after this will be the Summer Solstice on or about the 21st June, and we will be getting into summer holidays then. I want to look forward to the lighter days of summer, and for the moment not beyond, so I think I will stop there, and perhaps later in the year I can move on to look forward again to the autumn and winter festivals.