King Harald V’s Day

King Harald V’s Day is a holiday observed in Norway on the 21st of February. It commemorates King Harald V of Norway—a monarch who acceded to the throne of this country on January 17, 1991. Although this holiday is not a public holiday, and as such most businesses and schools remain open on this day, it is celebrated with the raising of Norway’s flag.

This flag is also raised on the birthday of his wife, Queen Sonja Haraldsen, Crown Prince Haakon, and his wife, Crown Princess Mette-Marit. Another Royal Flag Day is the birthday of Princess Ingrid Alexandra, who is next in the line of succession.

The History of King Harald V’s Day

Harald V was born on February 21, 1937, in Skaugum, Norway. He was the youngest of three children born to his father, Olav V, and his mother, Crown Princess Märtha. However, he was the only son, so he became the Crown Prince of Norway when his father became king in 1957.

Harald began a controversial courtship with a commoner named Sonja, and it has been reported that he threatened to never wed anyone if he was prevented from marrying her. Eventually, his father gave his consent, and Harald and Sonja were married on August 29, 1968. They would go on to have two children: Märtha Louise and Haakon Magnus. When Harald’s father died on January 17, 1991, he became King of Norway.

Observing King Harald V’s Day in Norway

On this day, official birthday ceremonies are held for King Harald V. Some Norwegians also celebrate his birthday on a smaller scale. During this day, Norwegians raise the flag of Norway, and this flag is also raised on all government buildings.

People can also expect to see celebratory bunting using the colors of the flag lining many streets—especially the streets of Oslo. On social media, the hashtag #KingHaraldVDay is often used to spread the word about this day.

Where is it celebrated?
Norway (Flag day)
When is it?
This year (2024)
February 21 Wednesday
Next year (2025)
February 21 Friday
Last year (2023)
February 21 Tuesday