Today, Norway celebrates the day they became an independent nation 204 years ago! This day was one of the most special of my whole exchange, and I will always remember it with fond memories.🇳🇴
It was really really special to get to experience Norway’s national day they way they do while on my exchange. Canada doesn’t have that many special Canada day traditions, or a traditional dress, and while Canadians are certainly proud to be Canadian, Norwegians are even more so.
In Norway, there’s this special traditional costume called a bunad that most girls and some boys get on their confirmation when they’re around 15. Bunads come in hundreds of different patterns, each specific to the area in Norway it is from. It’s most common now for girls to have bunads and boys to use suits on 17. mai, but there are some men who have the costume as well. I was so surprised when I found out how popular the traditional national dress still is in Norway- there are 2.5 million bunads in Norway, meaning that about half the population owns one. These costumes are very expensive, and I was really lucky to get to borrow one from my first host family & feel like a norwegian princess for the day.
Bunads are super unique to Norway, and when I was wearing the one I borrowed (from the area of Øst-Telemark) there were a lot of tourists in the city who took my picture which I thought was so funny.
To celebrate 17. mai, I went to Oslo with my host family. We left around 8:30 to go into the city, and when we got there, there was already so many people there. I saw some of my exchange friends while we watched the king’s guards perform, which was special.
We walked up the main street while the parade was beginning, then went out front of the national castle to watch. The king came out, and then the children started going by with thousands of norwegian flags outside the front of the castle.
After the parade, we went to meet my host sisters for lunch. We had a super nice meal at a french restaurant just off the main street, and from where we sat we could even see the end of the parade. We took some pictures together, then headed home around mid-afternoon to take a little break.
After a quick, much needed nap, my host family and I went to eat dinner with my host dad’s parents. For dinner we ate salmon with potatoes and salad, a typical 17. mai meal (apart from polser). It was a super nice way to end the day.
Anyways that’s just a little from the national day in Norway! It was really really special to get to celebrate the holiday here and I’ve never felt more Norwegian. Everything about the holiday was perfect, and if this is the only 17.mai I ever get to spend in Norway (i hope it’s not!), then I’ll remember it fondly. ❤