Syttende Mai is Norway’s Constitution Day, and has similar significance to the USA’s 4th of July. It celebrates the signing of the Norwegian Constitution in Eidsvoll on May 17, 1814. In Oslo, the children parade past the Royal Palace carrying flags.
The National Day is celebrated throughout the world in many Norwegian communities, including my hometown of Seattle. The area of Seattle called Ballard has a significant Norwegian population, and every year they close down the main street for the Syttende Mai parade. There you can see adults and children wearing the traditional Bunads, a traditional costume that represents the region where you are from (sort of like the Celtic kilts). There will be a joyous celebration with many flags, Norsk food and drink, and music and dance.
For a listing of today’s events in Ballard, check out http://www.syttendemaiseattle.com/event.shtml.