Barneblad: Race to the finish on Syttende Mai

An old-fashioned potato sack race to celebrate the day

The old-fashioned sekkeløp—the sack race—is traditionally a children’s game, but anyone of any age can participate, as long as they are still young at heart. Hipp hipp hurra for Syttende Mai!

The Norwegian American

These days, kids everywhere seem to have just about everything—computers, cell phones, mini-drones, and all kinds of gadgets, and sometimes some of the most exotic things are really quite simple.

That is certinaly the case on the 17th of May, when many games hearken back to former times, when people perhaps had less but seemed to have just as much fun.

The traditional sekkeløp, a potato or gunny sack race, is one of the most popular activities for children on Syttende Mai.

The sack race is a competitive game in which participants place both of their legs inside a burlap sack that reaches the waist or neck. (These days, a heavy-duty trash bag may also be used.)

At the blow of a whistle, everyone hops forward from a starting point toward a finish line. The first person to cross the finish line is the winner of the race.

This article originally appeared in the May 7, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American.

Avatar photo

Lori Ann Reinhall

Lori Ann Reinhall, editor-in-chief of The Norwegian American, is a multilingual journalist and cultural ambassador based in Seattle. She is the president of the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association, and she serves on the boards of several Nordic organizations.