Planning your Norwegian holiday: May 17
Flags and Parades: the Norwegian Constitution Day.
If you happened to be in Norway this past weekend, it was probably hard to miss the “Syttende mai”, 17th of May parades which took over all cities, towns and villages in the celebration of the Norwegian Constitution Day. The day is celebrated cheerfully with warm-spirited nature, with kindergarten and school kids with their parents making up most of the parades with local marching bands providing the music to march to. The parades and the speeches are followed up by ice-cream, sweets and hot dogs, making it a fun day out especially for the young ones.
The national traditional outfits, bunads, worn by many, are beautiful to see, and their vary slightly depending on the region from where the outfit and its owner are from. If you have seen the latest Disney film Frozen, you might notice some resemblance, as some of the outfits in the movie where inspired by these traditional Norwegian costumes.
The Constitution of Norway was signed in 1814 on May 17th in Eidsvoll, about one hour’s drive north from Oslo, and the constitution declared Norway to be an independent Kingdom after Denmark-Norway’s defeat in the Napoleonic Wars. The celebrations of the constitution day began spontaneously amount students from early on but it wasn’t until after 1864 when the day became more established.
Although this year the day was celebrated in the rain across most of Norway, it definitely didn’t dampen the spirits of the crowds!