As always, May in France means numerous bank holidays when the majority of the stores, including us, are closed. In the end of this post you will find the days it concerns us this May.
May means not only religious and memorial holidays but also Norway’s Constitution Day, 17 mai, which is quite a party! During may, at least here on the Côte d’Azur the days start to be really warm. This makes it vital to take care of the body hydration. We have several alternatives for relief, even an old favourite has returned!
We also feel obliged to remind you about the extreme dryness, the caution and limitations it causes. France is most likely heading towards even worse summer drought than last year.
17th May of Norway – more than a National Day
Every nation has a national day but probably very few of them are so enthusiastically and uniquely celebrated like May 17th, Syttende Mai, in Norway. It is often hard to understand for a stranger all that is going on during this day.
The local children carry flags and march together with bands. The buildings are decorated with Norwegian flags and women and men of all ages dress in their Bunad, or national costume. Graduating high school students wear uniforms and celebrate the approaching school year’s end. The sound of loud music is heard from every corner.
Understanding of all these 17th of May traditions requires some historical and social background knowledge. The 17th of May was established as a National Day in 1814 as the Constitution of Norway was signed in Eidsvoll, declaring Norway as an independent nation. Students and others soon began celebrating the milestone. However, since Norway was in a union with Sweden at the time, the Swedes believed that the celebration was a provocation against Sweden and the royal family. King Karl Johan of Sweden and Norway banned the festivities from 1820 until 1829. Read more about the historical background of Syttende Mai.
While many countries celebrate their national day with a military parade, Norway’s 17th of May is a party for everyone, especially children. Before heading out to the parades and festivities, many like to get together to share a huge breakfast with freshly baked bread, scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, and (for the grown-ups) some bubbly. Especially when celebrating abroad, all that are considered as national delicacies, like mackerel in tomato and whey cheese (mysost), are highly valued.
May 17th is usually associated with hot dogs, soda and ice-cream. Since there is a custom of “eat what you like” on this day, junk food is commonly on the menu, and in large quantities.
If our roads don’t cross before 17th May we
GRATULERER ER MED DAGEN!