About a week ago on the 17th of May, Norway celebrated their National Day. In 1814 their constitution, called Stortinget, was signed in Oslo, and Norway was officially deemed their own independent country. Fast forward 202 years later and here I am living in Oslo, able to celebrate my first 17th of May in my new city!
It was absolutely spectacular to see Norway’s traditions celebrated all over the city. Everyone dressed up either in the national costume, called a Bunad, or in beautiful suits and dresses. The Bunads come in all designs and colors and they all have a back story. The dresses and suits are handmade out of wool with beautiful silver accents, created by mothers, grandmothers or other distant family members. The older a Bunad is, the more unique and special it is, and each style originated in a specific part of Norway. It is definitely different than seeing us Americans in our best blue jeans and American flag t-shirts on the 4th of July, a tradition I am very fond of.
What was special about this day for me was that I was able to wear a Bunad too! My boyfriend’s family had kept his grandmother’s Bunad safe after she passed away a few years ago, and they asked me if I wanted to wear it. I tried it on and it was an absolute perfect fit. I felt so honored that they wanted me to wear it. So for the day, I wore Grandmother Gerd’s dress. The dress was red and green and it came from the region of “South-Trondelag”. This is a region just south of Trondheim in the middle of Norway.
As the history nut that I am, I loved the holiday and that the Norwegians have kept these old fashioned traditions. From my point of view, these traditions are becoming more enjoyable and loved as time goes on. The Norwegians are so proud of their history and their families’ stories. To be able to wear your great-great grandfather’s suit or a dress that shows where your family originated from is very special. It makes me want to dig up my family’s history and see where I come from! Maybe I’ll wear a kilt for the next 4th of July! :)
Until next time,
Napa native, pro golfer, world traveler, Bandit fan