Here is why you might find your flight attendant wearing an unusual outfit this week…
If you happen to be flying on a Norwegian Air, SAS, or Widerøe flight on May 17th, you may notice that some of the flight attendants (and maybe the pilots too!) are wearing clothing looking like they are from the 19th Century.
This is because a little country called Norway, up around the Article Circle, celebrates Constitution Day in a way that no other country can. There is no other day in the Norwegian calendar quite so big. Therefore, as we are having May 17th as a day off work, dressing up in national costume, watching parades and eating ice cream, we thought we would share with you some fun facts about our unique day.
Flight attendants can ditch their uniform in exchange for a Bunad, our national costume.
The Bunad is Norway’s national costume and worn on special occasions such as 17th May, weddings, baptisms and confirmations. Did you know that there are hundreds of different versions of the Bunad? Each local community has their own design and you’ll be able to tell where a person comes from based on their pattern and colours. Apart from Oslo, who don’t have a Bunad at all! A Bunad can cost between $2000 and $10000 USD as they are handmade and accessorized with silver and gold.
Breakfast with champagne.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But on the 17th May it is even more special. The table is adorned with local cured meats, scrambled egg, smoked salmon, strawberries, and cake. Norwegians do not often drink, but champagne for breakfast on 17th May is seen as an acceptable occasion. Normally, SAS serve complimentary tea and coffee on all their flights, but on the 17th May they often also offer complimentary sparkling wine.
This is not a day to sleep in.
People will wake up early in order to head to the Norwegian Royal Palace in Oslo to watch the King and Queen greet the crowds from their balcony. By early we mean, out the door by 8AM – having had breakfast beforehand.
Ice Cream and Pølser.
Children are allowed to eat as much ice cream and “pølser” (sausages) as they like. Seriously, us parents are not allowed to say no on this day to their request for more ice cream or pølser. There are often competitions on who can eat the most.
A trip to the cash point.
17th May is the only day you’ll find Norwegians using cash. Norway is very card friendly, to the point that most Norwegians don’t use cash at all. However a trip to the ATM is needed prior to 17th May in order to be able to fund all those pølser, ice cream and balloon purchases.
Russ. When you celebrate before your exams.
In most countries around the world, it may be common for school leavers to celebrate after finishing their exams. Not in Norway. Rather than revising hard for exams, here you’ll find 18/19 year olds doing the opposite. Dressed in red or blue dungarees or trousers, they celebrate the start of exam season with all night parties ever night from 1st May until the finale party on 16th May. If you see some very tired, worn out partygoers on 17th May, you’ll know it is students about to sit some exams on 18th May.
It’s no-one’s birthday, but everyone will greet each other by saying “Gratulerer med dagen!” which means “Happy Birthday!”. Make sure you say this if you happen to see Norwegian person on 17th May.
So now you know why you might find your flight attendant wearing unusual clothing on 17th May and the many more bizarre traditions we have.
Perhaps you want to visit Norway during May to experience this for yourself? Here are some more reasons why you should visit our beautiful land.
Gratulerer Med Dagen Norge!