October 17th was my birthday and I celebrated in a very special and Norwegian way. I made a bløtkake with lingonberry jam to share with others and boy it was a fun evening. Fresh lingonberries are very expensive to buy here in the US ($80 on Amazon Prime) so I improvised with a much less expensive option. It is typical in Norway to serve bløtkake along with many kinds of cakes at birthday parties. In fact there is a term for this "kakebord" which means "cake buffet". You can't get much better than that! In this case, I only made one cake, however another woman in the other Norwegian class was also celebrating her birthday on the 17th and had brought a cake. About halfway through class we have a break where all the classes come together so we were able to enjoy our very own kakebord!
Birthday celebrations in Norway often include a dinner too where family and friends come together to sing the birthday song which includes some dancing. The instructor from the other class found out that there were two birthdays and that the church choir was learning the Norwegian birthday song so he got everyone together to sing to the two of us. We all skipped the dancing though which was fine. The final interesting thing from my birthday was that the curriculum in class that night was about birthdays in Norway. It is kind of wild that all of those things would happen on the same night! Everything came together nicely without much of a plan at all.
The birthday song is much different than what we do here in the US. As the it is sung, the guests also do all the dance moves mentioned in the lyrics. Yes! People actually hop, skip, jump, and march as the birthday boy or girl stands in the middle. It certainly is a fun way to get the party going!
Hurra for deg som fyller ditt år!
Ja, deg vil vi gratulere!
Alle i ring omkring deg vi står,
og se, nå vil vi marsjere,
bukke, nikke, neie, snu oss omkring,
danse for deg med hopp og sprett og spring,
ønske deg av hjertet alle gode ting!
Og si meg så, hva vil du mere?
Hurray for you for celebrating your birthday!
Yes, we congratulate you!
We all stand around you in a ring,
And look, now we’ll march,
Bow, nod, curtsy, we turn around,
Dance for you and hop and skip and jump!
Wishing you from the heart all good things!
And tell me, what more could you want?