[break it down: sytten = seventeen, de = of, Mai = May]
As I'm sure the endless media coverage has made you thoroughly aware, today is Norwegian Independence Day -- celebrating the 1814 Constituent Assembly at Eidsvold where we signed our new Constitution and began our quest for independence after 400 years under the oppressive reign of the (not so great, it would seem) Danes. (We joined into an unholy union on this day with Sweden and didn't gain our full independence until 1905, but that's a rant for a different post.)
First of all, I thank all of you for wearing red and blue today to help me honor my heritage. It's touching. Really.
Our office had a huge Cinco de Mayo celebration (on May 5, for those of you struggling with the translation) complete with margaritas, burritos and a roving mariachi band. I wanted to stage a similar Norwegian celebration today at work, but -- as you can imagine -- all the local Norwegian shouting choruses had been (regrettably but understandably) booked months in advance. And I ran out of time this weekend, so I didn't get any lefse or lutefisk or rommegrot made to bring in and share. I'm sure we have some leftover piñatas lying around somewhere and we could probably get that mariachi band back here muy pronto, but I don't think Great-Great Grandfather Gustav -- who came to America on a boat with a fjord motor -- would approve.
So I will just leave you with some Norwegian good cheer (which is easily confused with Norwegian bad cheer because we're a stoic people) and sincere wishes for a very happy Syttende Mai.