Background: Informant has a Norwegian background from his fathers’s side and was raised being told about these Norwegian traditions and holidays, and this anecdote was told to me over a FaceTime call.
Informant: We would have a special toll hunt on the seventeenth of May… or syttende mai. Kind of like an easter egg hunt but trolls.
Me: Why did you hunt trolls?
Informant: Umm… it’s because trolls have a negative connotation, like how you’re supposed to clean your house in Chinese tradition on Chinese New Year to get out the bad luck… for us it was trolls.
Me: Did you get a prize for finding the trolls?
Informant: Yeah, we would get rewarded in chocolate.
Thoughts: Syttende mai in Norway is also known as Constitution Day, which is an official public holiday throughout the country. Essentially, it’s a country-wide party—people dress up in traditional costumes, with a lot of parades and drinking and ice cream. Syttende mai is not celebrated in any large way outside of Norway, as it would be like celebrating the Fourth of July as an Irish person—it just doesn’t really make sense to. It’s interesting to me how the informant’s mother brought together various folklores in order to give her children meaning on syttende mai as children born and raised in America. Trolls in Norway are seen to be creatures that are evil and dangerous, and beings that belong in the wilderness, not by the home, so there is even meaning behind the act of hunting trolls in Norwegian folklore, especially since the informant was rewarded for finding the trolls.