It’s Friday! Moose Cap Friday! Happy Moose Cap Friday!
Moose Cap is a monthly tradition which my friends and I have been celebrating since July 16th 2008. The third Friday of every month is Moose Cap Friday, a cause for celebration. If we host big parties, we try to plan them on Moose Cap Friday, because that Friday is already reserved for friends and parties. If I haven’t been able to meet Aina on Moose Cap, we’ve at least sent each other self-portraits where we do the Moose Cap greeting. And on the sixteenth day of the seventh month, we got together and ate a great Moose dinner – even though July is not Moose season for other Norwegians.
I have friends who think this tradition is annoying. Ok, other peoples’ inside jokes can be a pain. That’s why I’m re-publishing an interview of the founders of Moose Cap (that would be Aina, Eivind and myself). It’s not an inside joke – it’s a serious tradition. Spread the word, spread the tradition, and as we say in the interview: "honor the Moose, honor your friends and celebrate."
THE MOOSE CAP DAY – by Hanne Melgård Watkins
Originally published in the September 2009 issue of The Monthly Moose:
The Moose. National animal of Norway, and the emblem of the monthly magazine you now have between your hands. These diverse areas are not the only two in which the moose is in use: If you like mooses (meese?), the list of possible paraphernalia is as good as endless. The humble moose is depicted on everything from underwear to postcards; there’s moose sausage and moose –skin vests; moose-branded brandy and antlers to be bought for walls and mantelpieces. Given that the antlers are a moose’s most striking feature, it is not surprising that among the many moose souvenirs available the Moose Cap is perhaps the most popular. Did you know, though, that there exists a separate tradition for the Moose Cap? A tradition not based on selling funny headwear to tourists, but instead on respecting an ancient time when the moose was a highly esteemed animal here in Norway, imbued with magical properties? Our Monthly Moose reporter Hanne M. Watkins contacted the co-founders of this tradition here in Oslo: Julie R. Andersen, Aina Skjønnsfjell and Eivind Blackstad Hackett.
Could you tell us briefly how this tradition came about?
The story of Moose Cap Friday began in the 13th century, when a community in Rondane considered Meese to be sacred animals. For these people, the punishment for killing a Moose was death. One day, Lars and Jon were hunting in the woods and Lars accidentally killed a Moose. This was obviously a tragedy for the two friends, but Jon came up with a brilliant plan. He removed the antlers on the dead Moose and placed them on his own head, thus creating the first Moose Cap. He said: "The sacred Moose did not die. I was killed – tragically – but the Moose took my place." Since the people believed – rightly so – that the Moose had infinite powers, it made sense to them that this Moose could take Jon’s place in the community and speak the language. Today we celebrate Jon’s genius idea, and the powers of the Moose, both represented by the Moose Cap.
And does this mean you have to wear a Moose Cap every day?
No! Moose Cap Friday is every third Friday of every month, and that is when we celebrate. While not required, it is however, strongly encouraged to wear a Moose Cap or other paraphernalia, such as for example the Moose Shirt ™ during this celebration. Still, the most important thing is to honor the Moose, honor your friends and celebrate.
How do you follow the Moose on other days?
There’s the Moose Cap greeting – making Moose antlers with your hands. In the name of good fun, it is common for followers to share the belief that any topic could be subject to comedy and jokes. So we encourage a certain degree of un-pc-ness. The Moose is not an uptight animal, so why should we be? Also, on the 16th day of the seventh month we eat Moose. This is the greatest annual celebration for followers of the Moose. We ourselves discovered the powers of the Moose for the first time on July 16th 2008, at Café Sara.
The tradition has evolved. There is always the matter of ingesting the awesome power of Moose. We are working on a new "I can’t believe it’s not Moose" for vegetarians, and Moose-shaped pasta from IKEA is a great alternative or side dish. However, being vegetarian is so politically correct. The straight-up truth is that it Moose tastes f***ing awesome.
So just to recap (haha), when does this mean the next Moose Cap Friday is?
September 18th 2009. And the next one after that is October 16th.
Thank you for sharing this special story with us!
Now that you’ve read about this little known but important tradition of Norway, let all your friends know! Then you can go forth and acquire Moose Caps together, thus carrying the tradition onwards into the future. Hope to see you next Moose Cap Friday, wearing your antlers high and proud!