Constitution Day 2017 and 2018
Constitution Day is one of the largest holiday celebrations in Norway.
|2017||17 May||Wed||Constitution Day|
|2018||17 May||Thu||Constitution Day|
This holiday commemorates the signing of the Norwegian Constitution on May 17th, 1841 when the country declared its independence from Sweden. Over time, however, this day has become more of a celebration of the youth and culture of Norway instead of a patriotic holiday.
A History Of Constitution Day
Although a constitution was signed and the people of Norway saw themselves as an independent nation, the royal family of Sweden still governed Norway for a period of time. The King of Sweden at that time saw any celebrations of Constitution Day as an insult to the royal family and Sweden and openly prohibited acknowledgement of the date.
This did not stop the people of Norway from celebrating this date. However, in an effort to stop the problems with the King of Sweden, the celebrations were gradually changed over to a celebration of the children of Norway. After the king had died and a new king was cornonated, the ban on celebrating May 17th was lifted.
Constitution Day celebrations have grown to become one of the largest celebrated holidays in the entire country.
There are parades in every district of the country that are filled with marching bands and groups of children. Children are the centre of attention for the entire day, and all events are geared toward their happiness. Children participating in the parades are either with their school classes or with groups that they have activities with, showing off their skills.
A large part of the parade is showing off the “Russ” students. Russ students are in their last year of school and will be leaving for university the following year. After 13 years of school, the Russ are celebrated and acknowledged with special placement in the parades. Everyone cheers as they walk by, and the Russ students hand our mock business cards with jokes on them to the crowd. Since Constitution Day is so near their graduation date, it is almost considered a beginning celebration of their final exams and graduation.
As a final way to help honour the children of Norway, the official foods eaten on Constitution Day are junk foods. Hot dogs and ice cream are the most common foods eaten, and additional junk food favorites are often found being sold by the street vendors near the parade routes.
Once the parades have ended, it is common for families to do activities that their children love. The entire Constitution Day holiday is dedicated to the joys of being a child in Norway.
Other Traditions Associated With Constitution Day
One of the traditions associated with Constitution Day is attending the parade dressed in a Bunad. A Bunad is a broad term that means “traditional clothing” in Norway. The clothing is generally the type of clothes worn from the different areas of Norway from the 18th and 19th centuries, with most clothing representing rural dress in that time. This has been a fun tradition that keeps growing each year.
In an effort to also commemorate the independence of Norway, some areas will hold political rallies in the afternoon or speeches in garden squares. Many people will gather to sing the national anthem and other traditional Norwegian songs.