The 17th of May is a sacred day for many Norwegians. It is the day of the Norwegian constitution, which heroically even more sacred, since it remarks the independence from the Swedish kingdom, and then from the Danish kingdom, and back again to the Swedes (the Danish and the Swedish kingdoms were constantly in war back then; and when the Danes chose a wrong guy, a.k.a Napoleon, in one of the wars, they had to hand over Norway, in tears, to their viking brother across the Øresund channel – the Swedes).
The Norwegian constitution (May 17, 1814) is an inspiration for the danish constitution (June 5, 1849). In Denmark, the constitution also remarks the end of the absolute monarchy in the country. However, because Denmark had been for ages being a wealthy powerful kingdom, the constitution has merely been seen as an noble moment at the parliament by many danes; it does not carry the same emotional degree as the constitution in Norway, which seen by many as a symbol of freedom and sovereignty. That is why the norwegians around the world dedicate the 17th of may as a holiday to celebrate, throw party, dress in bunad (norwegian traditional dress), parade along the street while waving the norwegian flag, and enjoy massive amounts of beers and foods (including the classic pølse og lompe: a grill sausage, wrap in oat bread & soft ice). On the contrary, the celebration scene like this is hardly found during the constitutional day in Denmark.
I re-visited The Nobel Peace Museum in Oslo this December, where it housed a special exhibition regarding the world food issues. There i learned that the food that we eat everyday, that we taste delicately everyday, actually come from a very complicated chain of demands and supplies.
The problem regarding food issues today is that there is significant distribution problem. There are parts of the world that are getting heavier, dealing with obesity, and the other parts that are getting skinnier, struggling in famine.
The gallery below depicts pictures of families from around the world showing what they eat for an entire week and the cost they spend to afford these foods. Can you find the family that spends less than USD5 per week to feed the entire family? And the family that spends the most?
It was my second Christmas in Norway at my in-laws’ farm house. This time, it was less crowded because my niece and nephew spent the holiday at their other grandparents’. Neither the ship head (the traditional Norwegian food on Christmas), nor the snow.
The absence of snow this winter appears to be so strange to me. I even experienced Oslo at 6 Celsius degree in the last week of December. While snow falls in Sahara, the northern world wonders why the snow doesn’t make a visit to their hemisphere. This climate has reminds me with one article I read from COP 10, about the exchange of climate as the forced of extreme energy from the two opposite hemispheres (the north and south): the northern will be warmer, and the south will experience some cold.