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And there it was again, the first of May, labour day and a very special feast day in Ålvik. Why? Because the inhabitants of Ålvik are industrial workers, they work at the factory Elkem Bjølvefossen (named after the waterfall). That is why Ålvik exists in the first place. This town is build with factory money and almost everybody, except for us who live on Messen island, works in this factory. So there is enough reason to celebrate this day here in Ålvik, and they should.

As a foreigner I try to understand, of course, why this is so important for the ålvikers. Because in the Netherlands, we know about labour day but somehow seem to ignore it, strangely enough…. But we do know how to celebrate the 5th of May, for example. Can be quite spectaculair. Well here…it is quite different. I searched for a word to label the feeling I always get on this day, but it was hard to find a good one.

I happen to experience this day now already for the third time in Ålvik, and I get a kind of ground hog day feeling. You remember this film from the nineties, of this guy that wakes up every day on the same ground hog day and everything what happens is the same, over and over again, at every point of the day…. well, this feeling….

Oke, it is a small town, so it is not so strange that everyone we know is in the brassband. It is kinda nice. They play in the community building and also during the parade through the town, where…there is no audience, because everybody walks in the march themselves. And that is the point, the march is a march for everybody to join! The workers use this parade also to put up signs with comments on the local politics.

What, I think is a bit odd and funny at the same time (and now comes my groundhog feeling) is that they invite every year the same clown, who folds every year the same balloon figures for the children. And he can only do a few, the dog, the sword and the crown. I always have to hold my breath to not ask for a giant tyrannosaurus rex, or something else that I know he will never manage to make out of those balloons.
Also the same clown does exactly the same show every year where he makes the same jokes and uses the same white rabbit that he magically conjures out of the same box. Although he might have a dozen of those white rabbits at home, who bargain every year the evening before the big day (for a giant juicy carrot) who is going to be the pisang the next day…..

But non of this matters, because the children, and also my children, like it anyway… They scream every year that they want to see the clown show. And also every year they are wonderingly and surprised, when the same rabbit comes magical out of this box again….
How does he do it….?

But, I have to say, I really respect, and love the people of Ålvik ! Because, I know, if I would ask them if I can join the organization next year, they would be delighted !

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