Being a Norwegian-American living in Seattle, I always look forward to Syttende Mai, or 17th of Mai, Norwegian Constitution Day. With its rich Scandinavian heritage, Seattle boasts one of the largest Syttende Mai festivals outside of Norway, and this year’s celebration was no exception.
The streets of Ballard were packed with people who turned out to enjoy the parade, which is always the centerpiece of the festival. A few years ago while I was writing an article about the parade for a local news site, I learned that the Syttende Mai celebrations in Washington began taking place in 1889, the year our state was admitted to the union. Talk about longevity!
If you missed the festivities this year, mark your calendar for 2014 and watch the official website for details leading up to the events. Syttende Mai is one of those times of the year when Seattle’s Scandinavian roots really shine. And whether you’re Norwegian or not, there’s plenty of fun to be had.