Norwegians were heading into a long holiday weekend from Thursday amidst forecasts of sunshine at the start but grey, chilly and wet weather during the country’s most exuberant day of all on the 17th of May. Umbrellas were highly recommended as accessories to the national costume known as the bunad.
The weekend was starting with Ascension Day on Thursday, which means that many take off from work and school on Friday, too. It’s a traditional weekend for opening up holiday homes along the coast, and many head out of town on Wednesday evening.
This year the holiday weekend ends Sunday with Norway’s Constitution Day (Grunnlovsdag) on the 17th of May, however, so that’s likely to keep many Norwegians at home, or prompt them to come home early so their children can march in the parades that take place all over the country.
This year is also the 70th anniversary of what’s generally viewed as the most jubilant 17th of May ever, in 1945, right after World War II officially ended along with the Nazi German occupation of Norway. It was the first Constitution Day since 1939 with at least one member of the royal family, Crown Prince Olav, back home in Oslo after five years of exile in London. He returned to the capital on May 13th, with the rest of his family coming home again on June 7th.
Festivities this weekend were thus making special note of the 70th anniversary of Norway’s renewed freedom, but the weather was not expected to enhance the mood. State meteorologists forecast cloudy skies for Oslo in the morning and temperatures of only around 8C (48F) in the morning, followed by rain in the afternoon.
Rain was also expected most of the day in Stavanger, Bergen and along the rest of the West Coast, which was due for the worst weather in the country and chilly as well, with temperatures from just 7-9C.
The best weather was forecast for southern Norway, with sunshine at least in the early morning in Kristiansand and through much of the day. Temperatures wouldn’t be very high though, perhaps only up to 12C (55F) in the afternoon. Northern Norway may also get some sun, but temperatures were likely to be chilly as well.
The Ascension Day (Kristi Himmelfartsdag) weekend will be followed by another three-day weekend tied to Whitsund (Pinse) but then that’s the last of the public holidays in Norway until Christmas. Apart from school holidays in the summer, there’s not a single official day off in Norway from early June until late December.