Tuesday, May 17, 2011

17th of May, Norwegian Constitution Day

17th of May celebrates the day, in 1814, when Norway's Constitution was ratified (this was essentially the first step toward Norwegian independence). It is a huge holiday in Norway, and every community has its own celebration. The schoolchildren parade through the community, the local school bands as well, and the parade is followed by a program of some kind (songs, speeches, the history of Norway and the community) as well as games and refreshments (coffee and a Norwegian cake table, of course!).

17th of May is one of the times when Norwegians wear their bunads, or national costumes. There are bunads for both men and women, and the colors and styles vary according to region (the region your parents are from). Those who don't have a bunad still dress up--many of the women wore dresses and many men wore coats and ties. It makes for a very colorful and festive scene. Many of the local stores sell bunads specially made for children (usually much less expensive than the authentic adult costsumes). We saw lots of very charming Norwegian kids all dressed up! The twins and middle child had bunads this year as well.

There are larger celebrations in the bigger cities, of course. We didn't go into Oslo, but I'm told that there is quite a parade there. All of the schoolchildren in Oslo parade past the royal palace, where the royal family is present to wave at them. It makes for a lot of waving for the royal family, as you can imagine!

Each family at the school contributed a cake for the cake table. This was ours.

The parade started with the Norwegian flag and also the school banner.

Each class in the school had their own banner as well.

It rained on the parade, but cleared up soon after, and we enjoyed sun for the rest of the morning.

After the children came those adults and families who wanted to parade along.

Our school doesn't have a band of its own,
but this was a kind of multi-school band that included some of our local students.

Games for the kids

Waiting to play ball-toss

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