Syttende mai in Ballard celebrated with a parade, marching band and many flags

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Marchers dressed in traditional regional clothing

Syttende mai - Norwegian Constitution Day - is a huge event all over Norway.

It celebrates the day that the The Constitution of Norway was signed on May 17th in 1814, declaring Norway to be an independent kingdom.

According to Wikipedia, It is the second oldest written constitution still in use.[2] Students spontaneously began to celebrate the day with parades.

Flags everywhere
Wikipedia states that "During World War II when Norway was under occupation by the Nazis, it was strictly forbidden for Norwegians to celebrate 17 May, participate in any procession, or to use the colors of the Norwegian flag on clothes. At the liberation on 8 May 1945, the Norwegian flag therefore became a strong symbol of Norway's freedom."

Marching band

Parades, marching bands, and an abundance of flags are hallmarks of the day.

Norwegians from all around Seattle are part of the celebration

Many Norwegians settled in Puget Sound, with concentrations in Ballard and Richmond Beach. (Remember Deadliest Catch? It returns this year for its 20th season. Many of the captains and crew members were from Richmond Beach.)

Ballard holds a parade every year for Syttende mai (May 17th) where marchers and viewers alike don traditional dress to celebrate the day.

In 2023, King Harald V came to Ballard for Syttende mail and while here, knighted Eric Nelson, the director of the National Nordic Museum in Ballard.

All photos by (Norwegian-born) Lene Ellingsen Carpp


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