Historically in Norway, the 17th of May is a day filled with ceremonies, singing, dancing, parades and overall celebration. However, this year Norway’s Constitution Day will be a bit different. Because of Covid-19, major events including Syttende Mai celebrations have been banned. Although there will be no parades or public gatherings, the people of Norway are encouraged to “create a party in [their] homes.” To ensure that the people of Norway can still feel united on May 17th, there will be a program of events online and aired on TV by Norway’s national broadcaster, NRK.
One of the first major events to tune in for will be the filming of the cannon salute from Akershus Fortress in Oslo. Directly after the salute, Norwegians are urged to step outside and join the nation in the singing of the national anthem. In addition to the cannon salute, there will be surprise events in various places in Oslo throughout the day. The events will range from folk dance performances to ceremonies, as well as live musical selections. The times and locations of these events will be kept secret to ensure that crowds do not gather for them. However, the pop-up concerts can all be followed online and enjoyed virtually.
Although Norway’s citizens are currently unable to gather in person, this year’s Syttende Mai celebrations will be a unique, enjoyable day for the country to unite as one.
If you are interested in joining the virtual celebrations and “creating a party in your home,” there are a multitude of ways you can connect with Norway’s traditions. Perhaps you can learn to make festive foods such as kransekake, lefse or Norwegian waffles. Or maybe you’re interested in learning basic Norwegian phrases or reading facts about Syttende Mai. For more ideas and helpful resources to help make this year’s Syttende Mai the best it can be, take a look at the following article: https://www.sofn.com/blog/celebrate-syttende-mai-at-home/.