Postal Updates

Stoughton postmark recognizes Wisconsin’s Norwegian heritage

May 12, 2021, 2 PM
This postmark for Wisconsin’s Syttende Mai festival, an annual celebration of Norway’s Constitution Day, includes two Norwegian flags embedded in the banner.

Postmark Pursuit by Molly Goad

Around this time last year, many annual traditions and festivals were postponed, held virtually, or canceled due to the spreading COVID-19 virus.

One year later, many local traditions are being restored all around the country as event planners make modifications and follow health department safety guidelines.

One such event, featured on the postmark illustrated here, is the Syttende Mai festival in Stoughton, Wis.

The weekend-long celebration held May 14-16 honors the area’s Norwegian heritage and boasts an array of activities and cultural experiences for all ages. A banner in the postmark shows the Norwegian flag twice.

The festival takes place yearly on the weekend closest to Norway’s May 17 Constitution Day, also known as Syttende Mai.

Stoughton is located in the southern part of the Badger State, about 20 miles southeast of Madison, the state capital. From the late 1800s to the early 1900s, the city saw an influx of Norwegians. At one point, as many as 75 percent of its residents spoke Norwegian. These immigrants celebrated Syttende Mai unofficially, but it became an annual citywide tradition in the 1950s.

The Syttende Mai festival includes parades, food and drink, arts and music, athletic competitions and kids’ activities — all infused with Norwegian culture.

The May 2020 event would have marked the 67th consecutive year the celebration has been organized by the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce.

To obtain the postmark, address your request to: SYTTENDE MAI Station, Postmaster, Box 9998, Stoughton, WI 53589-9998, May 15.

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