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17 May Constitution Day

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Norway adopted its constitution in 1814, and it is the event that is celebrated every year on May 17th. The Norwegian Parliament, the Storting, held the first May 17 celebrations in 1836, and from then on the day was regarded as the national day.

Parade on Karl Johan

Gunmen after salute

However at the beginning, right after 1814, the King of Sweden – Karl Johan was not in favor for the celebrations and even actually forbade it, as he thought the celebrations a kind of protest and disregard and against Swedish sovereignty (Norway was in union with Sweden). The king’s attitude was changing gradually and resulted in Royal permission to held the celebration in 1833.

homage to Martin Parr

Parade on Karl Johan 2

Most people dress in their best spring clothes, with a Norwegian flag or May 17 ribbon pinned to their lapel. It has become increasingly popular to wear the national dress, the bunad, on this occasion. The bunad varies in appearance from region to region and the magnificent sight of national costumes from all over the country is one of the reasons why this day truly represents a celebration of Norwegian tradition and history.

Remarkable that the Norwegian Constitution Day has non-military nature. All over Norway, children’s parades with an abundance of flags and national symbolic are the central elements of the celebration. The longest parade is in Oslo, where at least 100,000 people travel to the city center to participate in the parade.

 

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