National Day of Norway in Oslo – 17th of May (Syttende mai)

April 5, 2017 • 2 min read

It’s the biggest street party in Norway, and it’s a tradition that’s more than 150 years old. Here’s all you need to know about the National Day of Norway – 17th of May – also known as Syttende mai.

Why the 17th of May? The National Day celebrates the memory of King Christian Frederik, who was chosen king and signed the petition for the constitution of Norway on the 17th of May, 1814. Since the middle of the 1800s, it’s been a tradition for kids to march through the city on this very date. The march consists of marching bands and kids dressed in national costume, of course waiving the Norwegian flag. Every year since it started, thousands of people have gone marching through Norway, from small villages to the capital of Oslo. The march in Oslo passes by the Royal Palace, where the royal family waive to the public from their balcony.

It’s also common for the Norwegians to have a traditional 17th of May breakfast with their friends and family. It’s a buffé of goodies; scrambled eggs, salmon and champagne. Now that’s a tradition we like!

If you’re in Oslo on the 17th of May, be prepared for complete celebrations everywhere, closed shops and restaurants. This is a folk fest, and everyone is invited, even you!