Sunday, February 22, 2009


Originated by MaryT, check hers for today.

The theme of last Tuesday has inspired me to right more about love. The agape kind of love this time.
More specifically about the important work done by thousands and thousands of housewives, women of small means, but great love and will.
According to my dictionary they are "Women volunteer workers who provide non-professional care and service for the sick and convalescent".
In short; there's no accurate English term for these extraordinary women.

Through out the years they have gathered money and built hospitals for tuberculosis patients, orphanages, recreation centers for housewives, and in the later 3 decades they have done a tremendous job for people suffering from rheumatism. They also have several school for educating nurses.
How do they manage all this? Amongst other things by selling these special lent feather brushwoods. First they gather birch brushwood in January.
Then these hen feathers are neatly tied to the
brushwood with metal threads. Other women go from door to door to sell them. Both Gunnar's mother and my friend Liv have been members of this association. It's a lifetime commitment.
Norway has been a officially protestant country for five hundred years, since the days of Martin Luther. Nevertheless we celebrate the Catholic lent. This Sunday was "Bunsunday". Eating fat food to prepare for the long fast. Then comes Bluemonday, Shrovetuesday and Ashwednesday. Further doesn't our fast go. We still have the redletter days, eat buns with whipped cream and buy the lent brushwood.
The brushwood being part of a pagan fertility celebration dating back to the ancient Romans. Gently whipping of the wives was supposed to maintain their fertility. Barbaric? Guess so.
The remnisance of the paganism has helped sick, poor and chronic ill for a century.
That can't be bad at all. The feathers of the bouquet of this year was bound by a woman of 82.It's a fidelity to one's dedication and a
love for one's next one just have to admire without any reservations.

Today the first mouse-ears sprouted on the birch.
Luke 6:38Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.


Anonymous said...

Very cheerful collection.

maryt/theteach said...

Felisol, you've told a story that I've never heard. It's a wonderful story and your photos illustrate it marvelously! Thank you for sharing it with me and all the people of Ruby Tuesday! :)

maryt/theteach said...

Also, Felisol, your link is missing a "o" in "blogspot" so it takes participants elsewhere...

Leora said...

What beautiful photos, and such wonderful good deeds these women perform. It's interesting how you combine the Catholic, Protestant and pagan roots of your country in your post. So special that these women are devoted. I hope someone knows how to say "thank you."

EG CameraGirl said...

Amazing that your birch are sprouting already,

I'd never heard of these volunteer women, Felisol, or of lent feather brushwoods. Thanks for the information!

My Ruby Tuesday post is at
More of Me - EG

EG CameraGirl said...

The trees in my barn photo are called (in English) weeping willows.

Catherine said...

What a great tribute to these women. Each of these feather brushwoods represents hope in human beings, and love for others.
It's a marvellous Ruby Tuesday with a very special heart value. Thanks Felisol.

Jan said...

I love your post and photos. It's wonderful to learn new traditions from around the world. I'm one half Norwegian by heritage, so this is doubly interesting.

Ralph said...

To give cheerfully and without recompense is a special kind of giving, and the women you describe are just that. A spirit of giving is special.

Lent, of course, makes us think of Jesus and th special giving found on Easter.

This is a beautiful post!

Debbie Petras said...

I didn't know this. Felisol, I always enjoy learning new things about Norway and the customs, including Christian practices.

Thank you for your kind comments on Heart Choices regarding my mother. I miss her so much and yes, she was very special and talented. She would probably be embarassed to have me go on and on about her but I love her so. I don't think she made her Bunard herself. I think she got it as a gift from one of her Norwegian cousins.

Felisol said...

Here is the link to the association of Norwegian women I wrote about.
Maybe Debbie and Jan can get someone help them translate.


From Felisol

Norm said...

what a very interesting post, amazing photos with a wonderful story, thanks for sharing.

Terry said...

Dear Felisol
This is an outstanding post.
The tribute that you have given to these women.
Their unselfish acts have brought such good in Norway.
God has surely blessed them!

I was wrong about Serina's birthday. I had it marked wrong on the calendar.
I completely forgot that she and Mrs. Mac are twins!..Their birthdays are on the 25th, eh?

Love Terry

PS...Your pictures are out of this world Felisol!

Mojo said...

"Gently flogging"? Seems a contradiction in terms to me.

But the photos are wonderful. Especially the first one. Very poignant.

eastcoastlife said...

I have never heard of this Norwegian tradition of women. A lovely story and I learn a new culture.

Felisol said...

Hi, Mojo,
I've changed flog to whip, but maintain whip.
The Finns still use birch brushwood
whipping when they after sauna are taking snow- baths.

They are of a tougher kind other Scandinavians.
Tougher and gentler at the same time.
Greatest Scandinavian artists also come form Finland.

Eaton Bennett aka Berenice Albrecht said...


Lovely colors in those photos and a lovely testimony to those faithful women. And...a magnificent piece of scripture. Thank you!

Ruby Tuesday

Dianne said...

beautiful composition to your photos - especially the top 2

and a wonderful story

Amrita said...

Such a fascinating post Felisol. The pictures and the commentary and sharing of another tradition of Norway.

I admire these women engaged in such a noble task and your family and friends are a part of it. God gets the glory for these acts of mercy and kindness.

Your photos are really professional.

I was having Internet trouble but it seems to be improving.

And enjoy the lovely cream buns.

In India we break the Good Friday fast with a fruit bun marked with a cross.

Jim said...

Hi Felisol, those are all pretty red flowers. Here in Texas and Louisiana we celebrate today. Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) is the last freedom day before Lent starts on Ash Wednesday.
So it's 'eat, drink, and be merry' today.

Besides it's our wedding aniversary. We will eat and may see a movie. Mrs. Jim has to do her orchestra librarian work (volunteer) and I need to get license plate for one (of the five) of the cars.

Happy RT, I liked your post. If you have time, I did one too this week. [If you don't have time for the visit, you already know everything I put on anyway.]
BTW, that Mary really is a teacher. I was the nice kind, I would have just fixed it for you. ;-)

Trish said...

I love learning about you traditions. Such a wonderful story and beautiful lent feather

Amber Star said...

That is just such a beautiful post. The good that is done from a work of love is immense, and the labor of their love is beautiful, too. It truly touched my heart. Thank you for sharing the story of this custom.

Here in the US we have many groups who volunteer countless hours to help others, too.

Gattina said...

wow ! that looks beautiful ! We official have these celebration days too, but nobody follows the rules, lol ! My dutch DIL is not religious at all, and honnestly I have never met a dutch who has told me if he was protestant or catholic or nothing. Nobody talks about religion here. (in Belgium neither)