I've been meaning to write a post about the weather in Stavanger. It's not great. Norwegians have a saying that "there is no bad weather, only bad clothing." I have to admire the practicality and positive nature of that statement, which we've taken to heart since we moved here. When it rains we wear our rain boots and splash about in the puddles. We always dress for four seasons in one day, something we're used to doing from living in Melbourne. But let's be clear...usually it's only three seasons here. I'm really curious to see what summer will be like because we haven't experienced any warm weather yet here.
But that didn't stop everyone from coming out with smiles and rain ponchos for the celebration of Norway's national day, celebrating its becoming an independent nation in 1814. Many events occur around the country on this day and we headed into town for a few hours to check out the parades and festivities.
We started our day at the International 17 May party in Bjergstedparken, where a small crowd was being entertained by folk dancers and the Stavanger Brass Band. Here the national and international associations sell food and ice cream. It was a bit difficult to stand around in the rain and try to enjoy ourselves for very long so we headed into town.
Things were quiet by the harbour so we decided to follow everyone else's lead and head to our favourite bar. Sure enough, more things were happening indoors on a wet day like this.
After a drink we headed back out and went to watch some of the People Parade. Everyone was out dancing and enjoying the fun. The rain had stopped for a bit and it was nice to just soak up the atmosphere. Most of the groups in the parade seemed to be associated with clubs and communities, walking together and proudly waving their banners and flags.
I think the willingness of everyone to come out despite the yucky weather and still make the most of the day really speaks to how special Norway's national day is. It's a bit of a shame that it was so wet (it's been raining all week here) because we were looking forward to our first 17th of May for weeks. We didn't stay out as long as we would have liked. But we look forward to future celebrations!
How does your country celebrate its national day?