The opening of the first 17th of May parade. Photo: Benjamin Moeyersons
The opening of the first 17th of May parade. Photo: Benjamin Moeyersons

Norwegian for a day

Dress up, take the red-blue-white flag and get drunk. Panorama followed those instructions and looked at the 17.mai celebrations through the eyes of a newcomer – but without the last point.

By RAPHAELA OSSBERGERBENJAMIN MOEYERSONS (photo), JAVID BAGHIROV (video) & FYNN HEISCH (video)

First thing: learn how to greet people on that day.  A simple “Hei” is not enough. A suffixed “Gratulerer med dagen” or “God syttende mai” is a must on that day.

And if you don’t have a Norwegian flag: Don’t steal one of those hanging around in the city – that’s absolutely not Norwegian!

Led by music corpses everybody marched through the city centre of Molde. Photo: Benjamin Moeyersons
Led by music corpses everybody marched through the city centre of Molde. Photo: Benjamin Moeyersons
One of many kindergardens cheering and singing their way through the parade. Photo: Benjamin Moeyersons

At 10 a.m. the celebrations were kicked-off with the children’s parade through the city center. Perceived thousands of kids in all ages waving their flags, singing songs represented their kindergartens and schools. During this joyful parade you just realize how many kindergartens Molde has – and where all those people crowding the streets hide during the rest of the year.

At 1 p.m. the celebrations started at HiMolde, offering hotdogs, coffee and two huge “festkaker” with a Norwegian flag made out of strawberries, cream and blueberries made by HiMolde’s canteen.

Since it is an unwritten rule for the 17 of May that you are allowed to eat as much sausages and cake as you want, it did not take long until there were only some pieces left. On a day like that, no one cares about calories.

No matter if you’re Norwegian or not, everybody is dressed up on the Norway’s national day. Photo: Benjamin Moeyersons
No matter if you’re Norwegian or not, everybody is dressed up on the Norway’s national day. Photo: Benjamin Moeyersons
A skål for the day, whether it was 9 in the morning or 8 in the evening. Photo: Benjamin Moeyersons
A skål for the day, whether it was 9 in the morning or 8 in the evening. Photo: Benjamin Moeyersons

Also an unwritten “syttende mai”-rule: No matter what weather the days before and after, on the National day the sun is always shining. So the students celebrated outside and enjoyed the warm weather in sundresses. Some Norwegians of course wore their traditional bunad, curiously and also a little bit jealously eyed by the internationals for having such a tradition.

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If you ever wondered about these cloths, this day is the best time to ask questions like “Is it actually hot in these cloths?” “What do the medals you are wearing stand for?” Answer to question number one: “In this warm weather – yes.” Answer for the second question: “I don’t know. You can just buy them in a shop.” Asking the Norwegian students who did not wear a bunad that day, they simply answered: “Too expensive.” Unsurprisingly, considering prices of about 30,000 NOK.

Traditional bunads and other attributes were seen throughout the whole day all over the city. Photo: Benjamin Moeyersons
Traditional bunads and other attributes were seen throughout the whole day all over the city. Photo: Benjamin Moeyersons
HiMolde was also present in the parade. Photo: Benjamin Moeyersons
HiMolde was also present in the parade. Photo: Benjamin Moeyersons

After the festivities at the university, the whole crowd headed on to the city center to either actively join or just watch the parade. Like the last years, HiMolde was represented by a bunch of students led by iStudent leader Vegard Øye. Wherever you looked at, there were Norwegian flags in all sizes all around in the city center what created that very special patriotic atmosphere that is considered to be unique in Europe.

And guess what: just after the parade was finished, the clouds came back – a sign that 17th of May is over for this year.

Hip hip hurra!