A good Norwegian breakfast is what you need to give you energy to walk in the 17th of May parade.  We started our day with chocolate waffles. Getting dressed for the big day is rather fun.  Stockings, blouses, skirts, aprons, buckles and buttons. Not everyone wears a bunad but it is usual for everyone to wear a pin and ribbon to commemorate the day. In Alta the parade starts at 12.00. The parade is lead by policemen, children carrying the Norwegian flag and then the city dignitaries, including the city mayor.  This parade is for all the school children in Alta, commonly known as the Children's Parade.  We started at the city hall and made our way down the E6 towards the city centre. Each school and kindergarten is represented.  They are lead by their school's banner.  The banners are patchwork cloths with designs that symbolise their school's theme. Breidablikk is a suburb in Alta.  They have a Viking ship as their symbol because Breidablikk was also the home of a Norse god.  The design is split with winter and night and summer and sun. Holmen Kindergarten is a farm themed daycare.  They have various animals and farm activities that the children participate in within their kindergarten program. Alta musikkorps is the biggest school band in Alta.  When Moose was a lad he played the trumpet for this marching band. One of my work colleagues playing the tuba, leading his students from Tverrelvdalen skolekorps. The band pays regular marches along the parade route. Our family walked with our kindergarten.  We were training our Saint Bernard, Bear, to walk in the parade.  Next year we hope for him to cart. Lilu goes to the Sami group of the kindergarten so we got to walk with some of the most colourful costumes.  The Sami do not just leave their costume wearing to holidays and celebrations.  They can be everyday clothes.  We often pick Lilu up from kindergarten after a day of playing in Sami dress. When you live in a small city everyone is a part of the parade.  That means there is only a very small crowd looking on.  So Alta has arranged a unique idea.  There are two parades starting at the same time.  One starts from one end of the city and the other from the other end.  They march along the main road and pass each other.  This means the paraders get to wave and cheer each other on as they pass down the road. This time we met at the city's main round-a-bout.  The head of the other parade had stopped to allow us to pass through. It is great fun knowing nearly everyone in the other parade - waving, cheering, taking pictures and talking to each other as the parades pass. The Russ were certainly part of the parade.  Russ are graduating students from High School.  They are loud, crazy and daring. Being an outsider, I often don't get some customs and jokes.  I understand the party vehicles for Russ, the scavenger hunts and the overalls, but I don't get the deal with the sexual innuendos for car names. To me it is a little horrifing.  Maybe they are supposed to be revolting 'against the sexual repression of a socialist society' or maybe it is just a 'lost is translation'.  I am certainly not looking forward to this when Lilu and Lil'Red are Russ. One of my favourite parts of the parade is seeing all the beautiful costumes.  There is so much detail that goes into them.  The camera certainly doesn't do them justice. The parades end up in the city square. In such a small city everyone has to do their part.  All our family was out and about playing in the bands (hei, Tante!), leading groups, accompanying tourists and being 'the crowd'.  After a few speeches, songs and music, it is time to go home to enjoy our BBQs, family and, of course, cake!

Gratulerer med dagen!


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