The 17th of May is a day of celebration in Norway- it’s Norway’s Constitution Day! Known to Norwegians as Syttende Mai (pronounced Soot-n-duh My) May 17th is a day of music, dancing, and delicious cuisine, marking the day the Constitution of Norway was signed in 1814. On that day, Norway became an independent kingdom, helping the country to avoid being ceded to Sweden after they were defeated in the Napoleonic Wars.
For 130 years, Seattle has been celebrating this important day with the our own Syttende Mai festivities. In fact, according to Wikipedia1, along with Stoughton, Wisconsin, Seattle’s celebration, is the 2nd largest celebration of Syttende Mai in the world (outside of Norway). Revelers can expect to join about a thousand other merrymakers in the streets of Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood this year on Friday, May 17th!
Here is what you can expect:
Parade: You don’t want to miss this cultural party in the streets. The parade takes place from 6 to 8pm and includes marching bands, Norwegian-American lodges, drill teams, and classic cars. You’ll want to get reserve your seat early as this is a very popular event. Check out the route here and the parade order here.
Music and Dancing at Bergen Place: Dance the day away from 2-5:45pm at Bergen Place. This event features the very best Nordic music our region has to offer. Enjoy The Winter Family Band, Skadia Kapeel, The Norwegian Ladies Chorus, The Norwegian Male Chorus, Leif Erikson Lodge Leikarringen, and Rachel Nesvig. This event is completely free and open to the public. Get the timing here.
Luncheon: From noon to 2pm a traditional Norwegian lunch will be served at the Nordic Museum. Dine with the Grand Marshall, selected Nordic speakers, and musical entertainment.
Kids Events at the Nordic Museum: Celebrate with the entire family. The museum will have children’s activities from 10am-2pm, along with favorites like the Fjord horses, Nordic Express and more! The museum is located at 2655 NW Market Street.
Ballard’s Syttende Mai is completely free and open to the public. The event is sponsored by The Norwegian Seventeenth of May Committee, an independent non-profit. Get all of the details, including the complete schedule here.