10 scores and two years ago Norway’s constitution was signed at Eidsvold and that was the beginning of a very nice tradition. Norway constitution day is the country’s National day and mostly known as syttende mai (17th of may).
The celebration of Norways national day is non-military in nature, the children and the flag is the central elements of the celebration.
I was woken up at 07:30 this morning as one of the local marching bands just passed playing a 17th of may tune. As a little girl I can remember waiting in anticipation for the marching band to pass our house playing marches and festive music.. They stopped by the local community’s flagpole to play the national anthem during the flag ceremony. The bands are often followed or preceded by the chant or honking of car horns from local graduates that either is coming from or going to breakfast( HERE is a little general description of the highschool graduates celebration).
I can remember waking up with excitement, knowing there were going to be festivities, balloons, ice cream and if I was lucky I would get a toy or two. Laughs were shared and sometimes a tear or two was shed as i watched the helium filled balloon disappear into the horizon. Dressed in our fineries we would go to downtown Oslo and see Norways largest parade, where most of the citys elementary schools with their bands would march up the main avenue towards the royal palace where the royal family would wave to the passers-by. I remember singing and chanting and I could not wait to start school so I also could join the parade. These days over around 100 000 people travel to Oslo city center to participate in the main festivities.
This mornings marching band is probably on its way to the local institutions for flag ceremonies before it stops at its designated school. At the schools all its students prepare for the parade. Here where I live now the schools starts to march and join up with the other schools when they get to the main street.
And then let the party begin:)
Customary you meet up at the school afterwards to eat, play and socialize.
Normal practice for many Norwegians is to invite to a 17th of May breakfast, then watch the children’s parade. For families with school children you get together at your child’s school for the after noon or you get together at a friend’s place for a late lunch or early dinner. The parade is not over yet, late afternoon around 17-18 or so the graduating highschool students start their parade. Some finish the day with more get together and others have fun at traveling carnivals/amusment parks.
HERE is a link from Wikipedia so you can read a little about the day.