Norway Constitution Day

Norway Constitution Day (Syttende Mai)

May 17
May 17, 1814, marks both Norway's declaration of independence from Sweden and the day on which its constitution was signed. At that time, however, the king of Sweden still ruled Norway, and true independence didn't come until 1905, when the union with Sweden was dissolved and Norway chose its own king. Nevertheless, this day remains the great spring festival in Norway, and today it is celebrated primarily by young people.
The children's procession in Oslo, the capital city, is the largest of many school parades throughout the country. Marching behind their school bands and banners, the children pass under the balcony of the Royal Palace in salute to the king. Students who are about to graduate from secondary school and enter college cheer and spin their tasseled caps in the air on bamboo canes. In the afternoon, many neighborhoods have celebrations of their own so that children who are too young to participate in the school parades may march near their homes. Everyone joins in the procession, waving Norwegian flags, leading dogs, and pushing baby carriages. Eventually they congregate in the town square to listen to patriotic speeches and play games.
May 17 has been celebrated since the 1820s and is sometimes referred to as Norway's National Day or Norway's Liberation Day .
See also Syttende Mai Fest
CONTACTS:
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
7 Juni-plassen/Victoria Terrasse
P.O. Box 8114
Oslo, N-0032 Norway
47-2224-3600; fax: 47-2224-9580, 47-2224-9581
www.regjeringen.no/en.html?id=4
SOURCES:
AmerBkDays-2000, p. 372
AnnivHol-2000, p. 83
BkHolWrld-1986, May 17
NatlHolWrld-1968, p. 64
OxYear-1999, p. 210