Syttende Mai: Adapting Norway's National Day Celebration

Syttende Mai or May 17th is Norway’s National Day and celebrates the signing of the country’s constitution in 1814. Norwegians are often said to be on the reserved side, but on the 17th of May that image goes out the window as the day is celebrated to the fullest extent with parades, parties, and events taking place all over the country.

In Oslo, a highlight of the National Day celebrations is a parade of children from local schools, accompanied by marching bands and singers, marching through the streets to the Royal Palace to wave to the Royal Family. Thousands of onlookers fill the streets for a joyous celebration, with the parade being an annual tradition for the last 150 years…until this year. Due to Coronavirus restrictions, public events in Norway were limited to no more than 50 people, and all big celebrations had to be cancelled.

Our partners in Norway, Fieldwork, worked on a virtual choir project as part of a larger digital celebration that took place last Sunday. They collaborated with children from an Oslo elementary school to sing the song “Til Dovre Faller,” a song about how Norway become independent on the 17th of May, 1814. The children recorded the videos themselves, and while the differing sound and picture quality of the videos presented a slight challenge, you would never know it from the fabulous result.

Watch the video below and then read on for more info about the inspiration behind the virtual choir and the results of the project.

The Inspiration

Øystein Johanssen, CEO & Partner of Fieldwork, explains that “The children would miss the opportunity to meet in real life at their school to celebrate together and to sing for their parents and fellow students, so the virtual choir was planned as a part of an online, digital celebration on Facebook. This was part of a bigger program with flag ceremonies, speakers, and as a platform for all the students and their families to share moments from their day online.”

The Results

It was a huge success within the target group, and the process of making all the videos combined with the anticipation of seeing the final results created a great buzz among the children and their parents. While everyone hopes that celebrations next year can take place in-person, this project was such a hit, it might even be repeated on smaller scale in years to come.

Gratulerer med dagen from all of us at 27Names to our friends at Fieldwork!

Video production: Filip Agnihotri/ Fieldwork
Featured school: Arnestad Skole in Asler, Oslo

Read more about a typical National Day celebration here.

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