Many of Public Holidays in Norway (helligdager) mark historical religious events or important days in Norway’s history. However, Norwegians traditionally tend to use most of these days as a reason to get out into the forests and mountains. Even On New Year’s Day, Norwegians will most likely head to the hills for a hike. Despite this being the main Norway’s approach to celebrating public holidays, there is still a lot of interesting things you can see if you decide to visit the country on a holiday.
Public Holidays and Observances in Norway for 2020-2021 year
Saturday 21 March - Birken ski festival in Rena, Norway (Birken festival, usually taking place in February in Rena, follows the route that a group of skiers took during Norway’s civil war back in 1200, to carry the young prince Haakon Haakonsøn away from the enemies and to safety)
Sunday 7 June - Union Dissolution Day (Norway. The Union Dissolution Day, observed in Norway on 7 June (though not a public holiday), is marked in remembrance of the Norwegian parliament's 1905 declaration of dissolution of the union with Sweden, a personal union which had existed since 1814)
Tuesday 23 June - St John's Eve and the first day of the Midsummer celebrations (Roman Catholic Church, Europe: - Bonfires of Saint John in Spain; Festa del Poble in Andorra; First night of Festa de São João do Porto; First day of Golowan Festival in Cornwall; Jaaniõhtu in Estonia; Jāņi in Latvia; Kupala Night in Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Ukraine; Last day of Drăgaica fair in Buzău, Romania)
Wednesday 29 July - Olsok or St. Olaf's Day (King Olaf II Haraldsson of Norway is remembered as Rex perpetuus Norvegiae, the Eternal King of Norway. Olsok is a national day of celebration in the Nordic countries of Norway and the Faroe Islands, and also in the provinces of Härjedalen in Sweden and Savonlinna in Finland)
Friday 31 July - Peer Gynt Festival in Lillehammer, Norway (The Peer Gynt Festival, taking place in the Gudbrandsdalen valley every August, celebrates the iconic play-in-verse by the famous Norwegian play writer, as well as the historical person who inspired the tale—because Per Gynt actually lived in this valley during the 17th century)
Tuesday 11 August - Øya Festival in Oslo, Norway (Øyafestivalen is a four-day music fest that brings together about 60,000 people on the green grass of Tøyen Park, who are excited to listen to tunes from internationally acclaimed stars)
Wednesday 9 December - Anna's Day (Sweden, Finland and Norway. Marks the day to start the preparation process of the lutefisk to be consumed on Christmas Eve, as well as a Swedish name day, celebrating all people named Anna)
Saturday 26 December - Second day of Christmas (Western Christianity. Public holiday in the Netherlands, Poland, Norway); St. Stephen's Day (public holiday in Alsace, Austria, Andorra, Catalonia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia and Switzerland); Boxing Day (Belgium, Fiji, The Bahamas, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Samoa...)
Public days off in Norway (with some exceptions) fall on a specific date. This means that there are usually some that fall on a weekend, so the number of actual public holiday days in Norway varies each year. Many of the days fall in May and early June, which can lead to a lot of 3-day or 4-day weeks in the run-up to summer.