Syttende Mai

Welcome to May 17th, also known as Syttende Mai…um, which is Norwegian for May 17th.  It’s their version of our July 4th, Independence Day, and they also call it Constitution Day, or Grunnlovsdagen.

Why, being an American, would I want to point out Norway’s Independence day? As it happens, I am partly Norwegian. My grandfather’s parents and two oldest siblings left Norway and settled on a farmstead not too far from where I live now. It blows my mind how people can pick up all their earthly possessions, travel half way around the world and just set up shop in a place where the language is different and the work just to survive is back-breaking at best. So, even though Norway was a free country, why the heck would they leave? I don’t know, but I’m guessing it was crowded. My great-grand father came from an extremely large and extended family, and I’m betting there wasn’t enough of the home farm to divvy up amongst all those kids.

Anyway, I’ve always been a little fascinated with Syttende Mai and so I thought I’d post about it. It’s not unusual for communities with lots of Norwegian heritage in the US (most especially here in the Northern Prairie) to celebrate Syttende Mai, if only because it’s a good excuse to have a party and eat lutefisk, lefse and meatballs. In the picture below it looks like there might be a side of lingonberry relish too. You won’t catch me eating lutefisk, but I’m a sucker for good lefse!

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

I was going to add some pictures, but my newly configured computer won’t recognize my scanner. Hmm…could be time for an upgrade.  I’ve posted a bit about Syttende Mai below from, and here’s another link from Wikipedia that tells more. I encourage you to follow the links and enjoy a little bit of Norwegian history.

Independence Day in Norway falls on May 17 which is commonly known as Norway’s Constitution Day. It was on this day in 1814 that Norway’s constitution was signed which made Norway a free and independent nation.

The Norwegian constitution was the most modern in Europe at the time and Norwegians celebrate their national day differently than the other Scandinavian countries, making it an interesting event for travelers. On May 17th, visitors and locals alike watch the colorful processions of children with their banners, flags and bands.

Independence Day in Norway is a spring celebration with a festive mood all over the country, especially in the capital of Oslo. In Oslo, the Norwegian royal family waves to the passing processions from the palace balcony. Another special characteristic that contributes to making Independence Day/Constitution Day a unique day is all the beautiful “Bunads” (the traditional Norwegian costumes) you can see the locals wear. What an experience for visitors!

Happy Norwegian Independence Day!


About Sparrow
I am a 49 years young and the mother of two amazing young men, who've grown up and left me an Empty-Nester. I write about what's going on in my little corner of the High Plains, or what happens to be crawling across my brain on a given day. Thank you so much for stopping by. Make yourself at home...through the magic of the internet, the coffee's always free and the doughnuts are fresh!

One Response to Syttende Mai

  1. Hel'wyse says:

    UFF TA LULA….and dere it is…..being married toi a norweigian, I have acquired a taste for lutefisk…but only once a year and sorry, does not taste good as fish taco!

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