July 29, 2010

Olsok – Norway

This day honors St. Olaf, the patron saint of Norway, who died in battle on this date in 1030. Olaf was a king and the person who is said to have brought Christianity to Norway. To celebrate Olsok, which means “Wake of Olaf,” Norwegians traditionally lit huge bonfires on top of hills and held historical plays.

(A wake is the time when people watch over a dead body, before it is buried, and sometimes celebrate the deceased person's life. It is also the name for a parish festival held to commemorate a saint.)

Nowadays there are folk dance and music concerts plus religious services. There are also walking pilgrimages to Trondheim, where King Olaf was buried.

Celebrate Norway!

  • One of Norway's most famous artists is Edvard Munch. Have you ever seen his most famous painting, The Scream? Munch created several versions of this painting—in oil, tempera, and pastels—and he also made prints via lithography.
Many allusions to and versions of The Scream have shown up in popular culture. At right is a graffiti "shout out" to the powerful painting.

Did you know that versions of The Scream have been stolen? The 2004 theft of the The Scream remained a mystery for several years. A substantial cash reward (two million kroner) was put up for the return of the painting, but still no painting. According to Museyon Guides, the makers of the candy M & Ms offered two million M & Ms to the person who ensured the safe return of the paintings, and only a few days later the paintings were recovered!

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