As usual on the seventeenth of May, we were awakened this morning at seven by a deafening twenty-one-gun military salute from the cannons outside our neighbour’s palace.

17 May is Norway’s national day.  It’s the biggest day of the year here, with flag waving, parades and barbeques similar to July 4th in the United States .  Our local parade of small children goes past the neighbour’s (the crown prince’s) front door (it’s the second photo, I can’t seem to link to it directly).  The children attend the primary school across the road, and when Alma was small we too had to show up at seven, wearing national dress or some other form of best clothes.

Some news people say it’s going to be even more enthusiastically celebrated this year;  it’s the first 17 May since the man shot the teenagers on Utøya, last July.  Norway has been preoccupied ever since with the significance of that incident.  There has been a thoughtful national debate – both about multiculturalism and how to deal with the culprit, as well as about human emotions like sorrow, anger, memorial, and so on.

Vesla has never expressed any interest in the seventeenth of May; it’s not her kind of thing.