Now, I don't want to say that Norwegians are bad dressers. Actually they are quite good dressers. If it rains (which it does ocassionally) they wear rain gear, if it snows they wear snow gear and if there's a party: party gear! But on May 17th they go all out!
Since I was on the rowing team (more on that tomorrow) early this morning and we had said we would do so in jeans and uniform shirt, tie and vest, I came in my jeans. I had a second pair of jeans with me just in case of bad weather (it is after all Norway), but I didn't need them. I did however change out of my uniform shirt afterwards. Into my nice Norway sweater.
I quickly realised I was highly underdressed. Since everybody and their aunt was in their Sunday finery. And I mean everybody! Most women and girls came in their 'bunad', a national costume that comes in many variations. Most small boys and some older boys and men came in their 'bunad'. Those who didn't, came in either a dress for the women or a suit and tie for the men (all of them, I don't think I saw a teen in jeans today). I think underdressed is a massive understatement.
I met up with a colleague, her three children and her boyfriend all dressed in their finest and we went to town. The first thing that was going to happen was the children's parade. Basically every primary and middle school in Haugesund showed up. With Every Single Pupil. Then there were some high school children as well. Interspersed were some school marching bands and other marching bands. And all this happened in the ocassionally pouring rain. I felt so sorry for those children.
After lunch (which I had at my friend's family's place, yum), was the 'adult' parade. Basically all the clubs in Haugesund show up: swimming club, horse riding club, jiu jitsu, churches, the red cross and many many more.
The last parade was high school graduates only. Well, they hope they will graduate, since the exams have yet to start. But this is their way of ending their time in regular school and they go all out. More on that next week.
Anyway, I am tired now: all that shuffling in heavy crowds (despite the bad weather) is very draining. But I have gotten an insight into life in Norway that I didn't have yet!