May 1, 2006

International Worker's Day

May 1 is Labor Day, international style. It's celebrated, often as a day off from work, in many countries around the world, except in the nation that was the reason for May 1 becoming the laborer's own day: The United States (can you say "ironic"?). See Wikipedia's entry on May Day for that particular background story.

In Norway, May 1 is a national holiday and traditionally labor unions, labor/socialist parties and special interest groups gather for parades, demonstrations and speeches. My impression is that it's very left-wing even for a left-wing nation, and I, with my American background, always end up feeling dark blue on such a day. But I attended today, for the first time ever, walking in the parade with the local plumber's union. (My friend's a plumber; no cracks about his crack, thank you.)

According to the speeches, the "man" is still out to get us, Israel is out to get Palestine, and the non-leftist politicians are idiots. In local news, the weather gods were out to get the kids' balloons and were quite successful: A marlin, a heart and a lion all went due south, over the Strand.

Here are a few snapshots from a sunny and windy day in Bergen, May 1, 2006:

The crowd is gathering.

A good pop band ("The Owens") played while we waited for the speeches.

The plumber's union has a lovely banner, featuring a famous fountain in Bergen.

The view of part of the parade as seen from our part of the parade, as we paraded around Ole Bull's Place.

This one didn't get taken by the wind, but got to go home with the little girl it was tied to (her sister wasn't so lucky).

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