Norway to Celebrate Constitution Day

Lively celebrations in Norway Credit: Zaid Ismail Flickr

May 17 is a day of significance for Norwegians worldwide.  This cherished celebration marks the signing of Norway’s constitution in 1814.   

Constitution Day Traditions

One of the most iconic traditions is the wearing of the bunad, a Norwegian folk costume worn by men and women.  Each garment features intricate details that reflect the wearer’s regional heritage.   It is often teamed with silver accessories and buckled shoes.  The costumes are often passed from generation to generation and become cherished family heirlooms.

Another prevalent tradition is the May 17 breakfast, which includes champagne or sparkling wine with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon.

Peter Qvam, a school headmaster, is thought to have come up with the idea of holding a children’s parade as part of the celebrations in 1869.  Qvam was a close friend of the author Bjornstjerne Bjornson.

Unity and Resilience

Norway’s Constitution Day not only symbolises unity, but also resilience, in remembrance of the nation’s journey towards sovereignty.

Whilst the celebrations have evolved over the years, they remain a key part of the country’s cultural identity

Royal Traditions

In 1906, King Haakon and Queen Maud introduced the custom of appearing on the Palace balcony to greet the children’s parade.  This custom has been maintained ever since, except for 1910, when the Royal Family attended the funeral of King Edward VII, and during the World War II years.

Today, the Royal Family gathers to greet the children’s parade from the palace balcony each year. Her Royal Highness Princess Ingrid Alexandra is the fifth generation to uphold this cherished tradition.

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