We asked a few international people to discuss how they celebrate their national day or days, and what they’re all about!

LT Dalin, author, content writer and former international student, on Norway:

ltdalinIt’s a little bit complicated, but Norway’s May 17 marks the day we appointed our own king in 1814. We broke free from Denmark and got our own constitution.

On the day, we congratulate everyone and we’re very nationalistic in the sense that we say “happy birthday” to everyone as if it’s their birthday when it’s the country’s birthday.

The celebrations are prepared weeks in advance. There is food and ribbons in the flag colours of Norway. Those who have kids visit the schools because the schools have their own program.

There is a big tradition on May 17 related to folk dress for both men and women. Every county has its version of folk dress, sort of like county versions of kilts and tartan for the Scottish clans. Our costume is called bunad. There’s a competition for the Best Dressed or the most beautiful dress. Every city has a march on the streets. Every organisation is involved in the city, such as athletes and marching bands. It’s customary to buy cotton candy and ice cream. That ends at 1 or 2 pm. People generally have a barbecue in the evening. After that there’s a carnival and fair.

Dario Cannizzaro, writer and editor at literary magazine Beautiful Losers, on Italian national holidays:

We have plenty of holidays in Italy, mostly related to saints or religious occurrences. I do like Workers’ day (1st of May) because we have a huge concert in Piazza San Lorenzo Maggiore in Rome, with a lot of free music, and a lot of people.

But my favorite has to be the 25th of April – we celebrate the end of Fascism and the liberation from the WW2 regimes. I think that, in light with the current scenarios in the world which are dangerously leaning towards far right, this has to be my favorite holiday, to remember the past mistakes.