It's that time of year again, Syttende Mai (The 17th of May in Norwegian). Ballard, and your friends at Blackbird will be having a blast all day tomorrow during this annual fun filled celebration of the National Day of Norway.

Come hang out with us during the parade. Well have some extra space right outside the store to watch as the parade goes by. Everyone will be there and we hope that you join in Ballard's unique and fun celebration.

What is the 17th of May?

Norwegian Constitution Day is the official National Day of Norway, celebrated on the 17th of May. Among Norwegians, the day is referred to simply as "Syttende Mai" (17th of May) or Grunnlovsdagen (The Constitution Day).

The Constitution of Norway was signed at Eidsvoll, Norway on May 17, 1814. The constitution declared Norway as an independent nation. The celebration of this day began spontaneously among students and other people in early years. At that time, Norway was under Swedish rule, and for many years the King of Sweden was reluctant to allow such celebrations. For a few years in the 1820s, King Carl Johan forbade the celebrations.

It was not until 1836 that anyone ventured to hold a public address on behalf of the day. That year, official celebration was initiated by the monument of the late politician Christian Krogh, known to have stopped the king from gaining too much personal power. In 1905, Norway separated from Sweden peacefully and became a truly independent country.

By historical coincidence, World War II ended when the occupying German forces surrendered in Norway on May 8, 1945, just nine days before that year's Constitution Day. Even if the Liberation Day is an official flag day in Norway, the day is not broadly celebrated. Instead, a new and broader meaning had been added to the celebration of Norwegian Constitution Day on May 17.

A noteworthy aspect of Norwegian Constitution Day is its very non-military nature. All over Norway, children parade with an abundance of flags. Each elementary school district arranges its own parade with marching bands between schools. The parade takes the children through the community, often making stops at homes of senior citizens, war memorials, etc. The longest parade is in Oslo, where some 100,000 people travel to participate in the festivities. The Oslo parade includes close to 100 schools, marching bands, and passes by the Royal Palace, where the Royal Family greets the people from the main balcony.

Outside of Norway, Norwegians all over the world celebrate the 17th of May with parades, speeches, and more. Since 1889, The Norwegian-American community of Seattle has celebrated the 17th of May, and now the festivities in Seattle is touted as the third largest 17th of May celebration in the world, behind Oslo and Bergen. Join us this year as we celebrate Norwegian Constitution Day with a Norwegian-American flair!


12-2 PM
Leif Erikson Lodge 206-783-1274
Admission: $25 per person
Tickets available at Leif Erikson Lodge or Viking Bank
Join us for a traditional Norwegian lunch with our Grand Marshal and Honorary Marshals! Entertainment provided by opera singer Laura Loge.

Barneleker (Children's activities)
10AM - 2PM
Nordic Heritage Museum
Children can enjoy easy craft projects at the Museum. The crafts are free and children must be accompanied by an adult.

Nordic Café
10AM – 2PM
Nordic Heritage Museum
Free Museum admission all day! Enjoy Scandinavian food and beverages available for purchase.

Entertainment at Bergen Place
2-5 PM
Intersection of Market St., Leary Ave., and 22nd Ave.
On parade day, there are public performances at Bergen Place featuring a number of acts with Nordic flair!

2:00 Bonnie Birch (accordion) and Paul Ostler (tuba)

2:30 Bressler Trio

3:00 Norwegian Male Chorus

3:30 Leikarringen Dancers of Leif Erikson Lodge

4:00 Singers from Karmøy - Synnove Aanensen,
Solfrid Brekka and Solveig Leithaug

Café at Leif Erikson Lodge
4-6 PM
Join us at Leif Erikson Lodge before the parade for Nordic food, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages, which are available for purchase.
17th of May Parade
6-8 PM
The highlight of celebrating 17th of May is the parade! The parade route begins near Adams School in Ballard, at the corner of 62nd St NW and 24th Avenue NW. The route follows south to Market Street and eastward to Bergen Place. Come early to save your spot! This year's emcees are radio host Karen Pauley from Nordic Roots & Branches, KSER 90.7 (Tuesday evenings from 8:30 to 10:30pm), and Tim Hunter, Creative Director at Destination Marketing, who has emceed the Bothell Parade and such Norwegian events as the "Lutefisk Eating Contest".