In true Norwegian style, Thursday was rainy – to be exact, the second straight day of rain. And, as you will see, there they were, in their stunning traditional costumes, celebrating as if it was the nicest day of the year (it was, almost LOL). You have to hand it to them – these Norwegians are tough. You don’t live in a land of ice and snow and rock and cloud without being able to handle whatever Mother Nature throws at you – with a smile, no less.
The Chamber of Commerce in Stavanger arranges a lot of events for expats to help them understand Norway and how things work here. They had a special pasta-and-parade gathering – nothing formal, but a good way to meet others and have someone to watch the parade with. We met up with a lady I’d met before and her husband, and it was really nice to have someone to talk to. The pasta was yummy…… and then we walked to a point about halfway through the parade route.
The day is celebrated throughout the land with parades……… lots of parades. After the ceremonies at the cemeteries in the morning, and the flag raising, there is a children’s parade. The children from all the various school walk, dressed in their very best, waving Norwegian flags. The school bands play. In the afternoon, there is another parade – sports teams and dance clubs, choirs singing as they marched along, and, of course, more bands. They love their bands here – and they are good. And no floats like we fill our North American parades with – well a couple – here is one-but no one is riding on it!
The streets were lined all along the route, in spite of the weather..with young and old alike.There are also concerts in various locations throughout the day. There was one at the Domkirke – the old cathedral – that I would have loved to attend, but by the time we had stood in the rain for over an hour watching the parade, I’m afraid that my whole mind was on getting home and curling up in a blanket. This being Norwegian takes stamina.
And after the parade……. it’s eat and party. Friday is a day-off for the schools, and a LOT of people don’t go to work. This is the second last holiday in Norway until Christmas, so one really does have to make the most of it.