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May 17th Constitution Day - Syttende Mai

The Seventeenth of May is Norway's national day and a big celebration for everyone, in every city, town, village and island. Expect to see parades - of children, adults, Russ students and others - with brass band music, flags, everyone smartly dressed and those that have one wearing their bunad - Norwegian national dress for men and women, but very specific to each area of Norway. Many families will get together for celebration meals.

a school childrens parade
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the black variant of the Stavanger area bunad Norway is a small and still fairly young country, and independence and the flag are very important, but not in an arrogant way. Although full independence did not come until 1905, it is the signing of the constitution on 17 May 1814 (grunnlovsdagen) that is celebrated.
The day may start with cannons, then a Childrens parade, lunch with friends, and more parades in the afternoon.
Some cities (including Stavanger, at Bjergsted park) have festivals that celebrate all national and cultural diversity, with foreigners and immigrants wearing their national dress and showing their music and food cultures.
When : 17 May every year
Where : everywhere in Norway
Following the upheaval of the Napoleonic war, in 1814, Denmark lost Norway, which was to be independent, with its own constitution and parliament (Storting). Sweden had slightly different ideas, and Norway shared a Swedish king and foreign policy until 1905. The parliament resigned on 7th June 1905 over the refusal to allow Norwegian consuls in foreign cities; on 13th August a referendum on independence was passed by 368208 to 184; on 26th October the Swedish king renounced his right to the Norwegian throne and on 18th November Prince Carl of Denmark became Haakon VII of Norway, and his 2-year-old son Alexander was renamed Olav - to become the much-loved Olav V, and father of the current King, Harald V

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brass band in the parade
flowers in their hair
Kids Verdict:
This is exciting if you are involved in the parades - it helps a lot to have a flag and something noisy to blow through if you are not.

See also:
a selection of bunads
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