Every year on May 17, Norwegians shed their typically reserved shell to dress up, hit the streets and party. It’s a day full of national pride, yet there’s no displays of military power and the politicians keep quiet. Norway’s Constitution Day is all about the children.
The lack of military parades is perhaps the most notable difference about Norway’s Constitution Day compared to many other countries around the world. Instead, the main parade is full of children from local schools, often in marching bands. Proud parents watch on with smartphone cameras at the ready before joining a people’s parade later in the day.
Some highlights of the day’s parade.
Also joining the people’s parade are Norway’s high school graduates. Known as russ, they are easy to spot in their brightly-colored overalls. On May 17, they are likely to be taking it easy as the day marks the culmination of a two-week period of partying that is seen as a rite-of-passage by most Norwegians.
I was invited for tradition brunch/lunch with a norwegian family. I met the 94 years grandma, a fantastic enthusiastic lady. She is still actively living in her own house. She talked about flowers, garden, grocery shopping and even she told us about her country tour on bicycle during war time.
The whole event reminds me of celebrating festivals in India. The table was full of fantastic traditional dishes. Members of extended family paying small visits and tasting the food. It was a sunny day and as we were sitting outside, passing neighbours were stopping by for a moment and some even dropped in and enjoyed their share of champagne. All in all it was a fantastic day for everyone.