Syttende mai – 17th May

There are lots of memorable international celebrations around the globe… In New York there’s the St Patrick’s Day, in Brazil there’s Carnival, and in Edinburgh there’s Hogmanay… what you might not know about is Norway’s answer…

On 17 May every year Norway comes to a standstill as the population commemorates the signing of their constitution on that date in 1814…

Norwegians pull out all the stops. “Syttende mai” as it’s known is the biggest street party Norway has all year, easily eclipsing New Year’s Eve…

Alfred Heaton Cooper Norwegian Fjords Illustrated Book

This is a serious party for everyone, especially for children… it’s a national day with a twist and food figures in a big way…

Before people take to the streets, they go for breakfast with friends and neighbours, sharing freshly baked bread, scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, and a glass of fizz…

Then it’s time for a spot of flag waving, even the Norwegian Royal Family get stuck in… enjoying a day of constant waving…

Alfred Heaton Cooper Sketch Of Bergen Harbour

Then after all the parades and flag waving fun the national obsession with eating huge amounts of ice cream and consuming copious numbers of hot dogs kicks in… So, if you’re on a diet just forget counting the calories today…

All in all, the day is a riot of colour and celebration and to mark our Norwegian heritage Mathilde’s is joining in with the fun too… after all it’s an excuse for us to celebrate the deep seated love between Alfred Heaton Cooper and his beloved Mathilde Marie Valentinsen… a gentle Norwegian country girl who stole away his heart in the small Norwegian village of Balestrand, beside the iconic Sognefjord…

Photograph of Bergen in 1890’s

So, when you pop in for a bite to eat don’t forget to practice a little Norwegian and have a go at traditional Norway Day greeting of “Gratulerer med dagen!”, which literally means “Congratulations of the day”.

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