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A quick guide to Norway's public holidays in 2023

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected] • 25 Dec, 2022 Updated Sun 25 Dec 2022 09:57 CEST
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In this article, we will go through all the public holiday in Norway in 2023. Photo by Nathan Anderson / Unsplash

With the winter holiday season just around the corner, you'll likely have some extra time on your hands to plan out trips and vacations in 2023. A good overview of public holidays in Norway can help make planning easier.


From St. Lucia's Day and the Small Christmas Eve to Christmas and the Romjul period – December is filled with traditional holidays and time off that you can use to plan for the year ahead.

In this article, we will go through all the public holidays in Norway in 2023 so that you have a good overview that can help you make the most of your days off.

New Year: January 1st, 2023

We're starting off with New Year's Day, which is a public holiday in Norway – and with good reason. On January 1st, Norwegians usually make good use of the day off and get some much-needed rest from the New Year's celebrations.

Some Norwegians opt for a day in, recovering in their homes, while others head for the mountains and enjoy "active" rest.

Traditionally, Norway's King Harald gives a New Year's speech on the 1st of the year. The king's speech tends to focus on spreading optimism, hope, and encouragement to the people of Norway, accentuating shared values and a sense of community.


Easter holidays: April 6th to 10th, 2023

Here's something to get excited about - Norway has extremely long Easter holidays. In fact, it boasts of three public holidays during the Easter period: Maundy Thursday (Skjærtorsdag), Good Friday (Langfredag), and Easter Monday/Second Easter Day (Andre påskedag).

During these days, most shops and companies are closed. This public holiday setup allows for a magical extended weekend (family trip to the cabin, anyone?) – especially as these public holidays always fall on Thursday and end on Monday.

It's not uncommon in Norway to use some of your vacation days to take Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off, as it can enable you to get more than a week off work for yourself.

Labour Day: May 1st, 2023

Norway has one of the most developed union systems in the world. On May 1st, the country's labour unions go all out to celebrate International Workers Day.

Expect unions to organize parades, speeches, and marches, flood social media with campaigns promoting organised labour, and rivers of workers waving red flags marching through most bigger cities.

In 2023, Labour Day will fall on a Monday, so workers in Norway will get to celebrate their day – and the country's robust and generous employment laws – with a day off (in contracts with 2022, when it fell on the weekend).


Norway's Constitution Day: May 17th, 2023

This is the big public holiday in Norway. The country celebrates it with enormous parades and festive programs in virtually all cities.

Expect champagne for breakfast, Norwegians dressed in traditional clothes in the streets, outbursts of good mood, a host of local events, and special TV programs dedicated to promoting the unifying spirit of Syttende Mai (the 17th of May) throughout the day.

Make sure to join in on the party – it is said that Norwegians are at their friendliest and warmest on this day. So, don't be surprised if dozens (or even hundreds) of complete strangers greet you on the streets on this special day.

In 2023, May 17th will fall on a Wednesday.


Ascension Day: May 18th, 2023

A religious holiday and public holiday in one, Ascension Day (Kristi himmelfartsdag) is observed to mark Jesus's ascension into heaven on the 40th day of Easter, that is, 39 days after his resurrection.

Christians in Norway tend to attend church service on Ascension Day, while their less religious compatriots mostly appreciate the fact that they get a day off work.

The holiday's date differs from year to year, but it always falls on a Thursday.

Therefore, a lot of Norwegians use a vacation day to create a "bridge" between Ascension Day and Saturday, which lets them enjoy a long weekend.


Whit Monday: May 29th, 2023

Taking place ten days after Ascension Day, Whit Monday (Pentecost or Pinse) – another religious and public holiday – is celebrated on Mondays.

Christians observe the day to honour the coming of the Holy Spirit in the form of flames to the Apostles, as stated in the Bible.

As it falls on a Monday, this is another long weekend that Norwegians get to enjoy in May (hip-hip, hooray!).

Most companies and schools are closed for Whit Monday, and Norwegians tend to spend the day outdoors.


Christmas: December 25th, 2023

We need to start with a disclaimer. In Norway, the main day of the Christmas period is Christmas Eve, on December 24th.

You can find out more about Norway's Christmas traditions here.

While Norwegians might take time off work on Christmas Eve, Christmas day, December 25th, is the actual public holiday (it will fall on a Sunday in 2023).

The day is often spent recovering from the food coma resulting from all the food consumed on Christmas Eve.


Second Day of Christmas / St. Stephen's Day: December 26th, 2023

St. Stephen's Day, called the Second Day of Christmas (Andre juledag) in Norwegian, is also a public holiday in the country.

As a precursor to the Romjul period (December 27th – December 30th), it is often considered to be a rare opportunity to take a break from all the Christmas food, sweets, and drinks.

A lot of Norwegians opt for physical activity as a pastime on December 26th (a Monday in 2023) and enjoy long walks and hikes on St. Stephen's Day.

Families and friends head to the outdoors for one final bout of exercise before the decadency of Romjul socialising over food and drinks sets in.



Robin-Ivan Capar 2022/12/25 09:57

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