Many countries have a national day and so does Norway! The 17th of May marks Constitution Day in Norway and it is a huge deal to most Norwegians. Flags, marching bands and children's parade are all part of Norway's great celebration of the national day. Come along with us in this blog article and learn how to celebrate the 17th of May like a true Norwegian.
While many countries celebrate their national days with sombre parades, Constitution Day in Norway is nothing like that! The whole day is a big, fun red-white-blue celebration that includes everyone from grandparents to children and like every good party, it starts with food!
The proper way to start off the 17th of May in style is by a traditional breakfast! It usually includes fresh bread, cured ham, scrambled eggs and many more delicacies including champagne for the adults.
Another thing that is typically eaten on Constitution Day is cake or waffles decorated with cream, strawberries and blueberries, often arranged in the shape of the Norwegian flag. Also, waffle batter is usually died red and blue - any way to represent the national colours is allowed!
Another vital part of the 17th of May celebrations are children's parades! They happen all over the country and are usually led by a marching band. Behind that come all children of the community, arranged by their school classes. These parades attrect masses of cheering spectators and the biggest parade in Oslo even leads up to the royal palace where the children are greeted by the royal family, waving from the balcony of the palace!
A very important tasks throughout the day for (not only) children is to eat as much ice cream and sausages as it is humanly possible! Both are very common foods to enjoy on the 17th of May with some Norwegians even claiming it might be the most important part of the day!
17th of May is also the perfect opportunity for men and women to show off their "bunad", traditional Norwegian clothing, that many people wear to give the national day a proper, festive touch. There are thousands and thousands of different types of bunad from all over the country and the different types indicate where in Norway the owner's ancestry lies.
Among all these fun and exciting activities, we have almost forgot to mention why the national day is called Constitution Day. On the 16th of May 1814, the Constitution of Norway was unanimously passed by the Eidsvoll Assembly and signed the next day - the 17th of May. Celebrations broke out spontaneously amongst students but as Norway was still in a union with Sweden, union king Karl Johan of Sweden and Norway actually banned the festivities between 1820 and 1829. The first public address was held in 1833 by Norwegian poet Henrik Wergeland, and from then on, 17 May has been celebrated as Norway’s national day.
Lastly, there is also a special tip for anyone getting involved in 17th of May celebrations: make sure you bring your own Norwegian flag along! Between ice cream, children's parades, drinking and celebrating there will be many opportunities for flag waving and it is a great way to feel involved!
So now you are ready! Get out and mingle with the locals and celebrate Norway!