1. May

May 1st is Norway’s labor day. Of course, the day means different things to different people. To some, it’s a day to celebrate workers. To others, it’s the day you start planting your garden, and to others, it’s simply a day to relax. It also represents the start of something else, but that will wait until I have the best picture and story to explain it.

SunbathingSunbathers Friday was an amazingly warm day – not hot, but warm enough to go out in shorts and a T-shirt. I spent a few hours just walking around – it may not have been as much of a workout as going to the gym, but it was nice just the same. As you can see, I wasn’t the only one who thought it was a nice day. This picture was taken by the theater, but other parks, Frognerparken especially, were quite crowded.

Norwegian Holidays

The Easter holidays start on Thursday.  Actually, for many Norwegians, the holiday started last Friday.  While around 90% of Norwegians technically belong to the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Norway, this is not an overly religious country.  For many Norwegians in Oslo, this long weekend is a chance for them to go skiing one last time before spring really arrives.  Plus, the holidays related to Easter guarantee a minimum number of days off.

In Norway, you only get a day off for a public holiday if you are normally scheduled to work on the day it falls.  This means that since Norway’s Constitution Day (May 17) falls on a Sunday this year, it’s not a real holiday to me – I have to be at work the Friday before and the Monday after.  It seems strange to me.  So this year, even though there are 10 public holidays, only 8 of them are actually days off for me, and it looks like next year will be even worse – 3 of the days fall on the weekend, as does January 1, 2011.  Darn.

For those of you who are curious, here are the public holidays for 2009:

1 Jan New Year’s Day. 
9 Apr
 Holy Thursday.
10 Apr Good Friday.
13 Apr Easter Monday.
1 May May Day.
17 May Constitution Day.
21 May Ascension.
1 Jun Whit Monday.
25-26 Dec Christmas.