Remembering an historic battle on Olsok day and with römmegröt


On a summer day you do not really fancy eating a lot, so you go for the light stuff. Saint Olaf certainly did not face the light stuff in the battle at Stiklestad, but – if it makes it easier to him wherever he is – now all Norwegians carry him in their cultural baggage. While in Spain, people might go for a cold Gazpacho soup, Norwegians might go for a salad, cold smoked mackerel, or even rømmegrøt. The latter is a traditional dish to have while watching the Olsok-bonfire (similar to St. Hans), for instance near a lake, in a forest, or by the sea, remembering a historical turning point in Norwegian history: the Olsok Day, following the death of King Olaf, Olaf the Saint, at the battle of Stiklestad in 1030.

Olsok food

Typical in Norway around Olsok Day, the rømmegrøt

Olsok Day

Olsok (from Old Norse ólafsvaka) is the feast of St. Olaf, which is celebrated on the day of his death 29 July. Olsok does – similar to Jonsok or Midsummer – really refer to the festive the evening before the Olaf’s Day. Olav the Holy fell on Stiklestad on the 29th of July 1030, and thus it would be St. Olaf in the evening of the 28th of July (and the night of July 29th). But Olsok has gradually come to be used for the Olav Day on 29 July. The day is marked with an ax on the prime stake. Before the Reformation was one of the major weekend festivals in Norway, and because of Olaf’s unique position in Norwegian history it was preserved as a national feast day, even after the Reformation.

Rømmegrøt

A very typical thing to eat, traditionally, in Norway during the warmest months of the year is that kind porridge, rømmegrøt, made on a base similar to heavy sour-cream. Other ingredients include whole milk, wheat flour, butter, and salt. It is typically served warm, with cinnamon and sugar spread on top, and with melted butter generously covering in the middle of the serving. Nevertheless, recipes differ depending on the region of the country. To kind of “beef it up” (although heavy by itself), you’ll commonly be offered a grøtpinne, cured meat.

The Battle of Stiklestad

This  is one of the most famous battles in the history of Norway. In this battle, King Olaf II of Norway (Old Norse: Óláfr Haraldsson) was killed, and then he was later canonized. His young half-brother, Harald Sigurdsson, was also present at the battle and would go on to become King of Norway in 1047, dying in a failed invasion of England in the also famous Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066.

The information in this blogg is based largely on what I saw in Wikipedia.

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  1. July 29th. – Olsok | Oddvin Vedo

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