May 1 As a Public Holiday In Norway

May 1 is the International Worker’s Day (also known as Labor Day), and this is to some extent celebrated in Norway. The day is to focus on the labor movement, and the most common way to see it celebrated in Norway is in the form of a parade / demonstration where workers make demands to politicians and work unions.

May 1 is a public holiday in Norway, meaning that schools and most work places are closed. Most stores are also closed, but those are are open on Sundays are also allowed to be open on May 1.

May 1 parade in Oslo
Labor Day parade / demonstration in Oslo. Photo by GGAADD / CC BY-SA 2.0.

Do most people care about Labor Day in Norway?

Most cities and towns have a type of Labor Day “celebration” where workers and worker’s unions organize a type of marching parade combined with a demonstration. This allows people to show support or make demands for worker’s rights, or even more general political demands like reducing pollution or stopping production of war material.

In addition to the parade, politicians and other people give speeches, and it’s usual to see most of the political parties on the left side of the spectrum giving speeches and celebrating the day.

The biggest demonstration is obviously in Oslo, but it tends to also be a big demonstration in the other big cities like Bergen and Trondheim.

Labor Day is not really a public holiday that is celebrated to everyone, and it tends to be people who are interested in politics that use the day to make some noise. Most people think of May 1 as an extra day off work that they spend like any other non-working day.

In other words, it’s not like everyone in the entire country crowds the streets like we do on May 17 when it’s time to celebrate the national day, and Labor Day is a bit less celebrated.

That said, everyone gets the day off, and people who need to work for some reason get paid extra like they would working on a Sunday or another public holiday.

Labor Day parade / demonstration in Oslo
Labor Day parade / demonstration in Oslo. Photo by GGAADD / CC BY-SA 2.0.

How to participate on Labor Day in Norway

Anyone is free to participate in celebrating Labor Day on May 1, even tourists or anyone who wants to join. The best course of action to join in is to check out the program for the city or town you are in, and meet in the morning when the day begins.

The program for the day is usually organized by LO, so a good place to start is by looking at your regional LO’s Facebook profile or website. LO will most often have divisions for every region in the country.

The day typically begins with speeches around 9 AM or 10 AM, and keeps going for most of the day. The main parade tends to be around 1 or 2 PM.

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