Hurray! It’s the 17th of May

Photo: tams_kp

Marching bands, parades, traditional costumes and ice cream. A lot of ice cream. The celebration of the national day is a party like no other in Norway. But do you know why we celebrate?

Almost 30% of all Norwegians do not know why we celebrate and why 17th of May is our national day. The constitution of Norway was signed at Eidsvoll on May 17 in 1814. It declared Norway to be an independent kingdom in an attempt to avoid being ceded to Sweden after Denmark-Norway’defeat in the Napoleonic Wars.

All over Norway, children’s parades with an abundance of flags form the central elements of the celebration. Each elementary school district arranges it’s own parade. The parade takes the children through the community, often making stops at homes of senior citizens, war memorials, etc. The longest parade is in Oslo.

The graduating class from the Norwegian equivalent of high school, known as russ, has its own celebration on May 17, staying up all night and making laps through the community. The russ also have their own parades later. In this parade, russ will parade through the street with their russ car carrying signs and pickets.

Photo: Ronny-Andrè Bendiksen

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