Are all Norwegians patriots or nationalists? It’s the first impression if you have ever visited Norway on the 17th of May, the constitution day of Norway! It’s a day off – as it’s not a working day. The day starts early, with kids parades. All schools and all classes around the country participate and have their own parades, continued by visit to the local church and later on ice cream serving and BBQ’ing with hot dogs and hamburgers. Everything is dedicated to the kids! In Oslo the royal family is winking to all the schools arriving outside of the castle. Yes, Norway is a strong monarchy, and most people love the king, queen and the rest of their family. Probably no other monarchy has such a satisfied population!
Here you can listen to the National anthem of Norway, including subtitles… “Ja vi elsker dette landet”, or “Yes, we love this country…” Norwegians can’t say that enough!
17.May is all about traditions…
The rest of the day is a bit more chilled. Afternoon the (last year of college) students (named “Russ”) have their own parade, they are quite drunk and noisy, driving in their red or blue buses in the streets. As it’s a family day, most families are together on this day having traditional dinner… And if they don’t work next day, it could be a wet night out in the city…
Loving their own country, their flag and decorate it with the Norwegian colors…
It is normal to be proud of 17.May, of the country, winking with Norwegian flags, and decorate in the official flag colors, red, blue and white, and sing the 100-year old national anthem, “Ja vi elsker dette landet” (Yes, we love this country!) and say “Congratulations with the day!” to everybody! Most people look happy although Norwegians are not known for shouting or showing happiness as much as other people… It seems to be only one rule: You should smile and show love to your country! And yes, the Norwegians do it on own purpose – there isn’t a dictator here, so people celebrate it by their free will… That’s actually one of the main factors – Norway is a free place to stay and to do what you want!
Here you can see the Norwegian russ celebration, how the Norwegian college students celebrate that they graduate from high school. So what is a russ? A youth celebrating his last month at high school! Alle the graduation students have their colorful buses and costumes… It seems to be only time of their life they are allowed to party 24 hours for a long time, until the exam is coming…. It’s allowed to be drunk, and do wild things. It seems to be cool to have flags on their jeans and jackets… The russ students have a bonus system, that gives points for every weird thing you do, including drinking 24 cans of beer or having sex in a public area… In Sweden they haven’t anything similar, they have only “Studenten” that is a traditional graduation party after the last day at high school!
Today is Norway’s patriot day, the great official flag day!
Look out for flags everywhere, baloons and fireworks at night! Probably the only day the Norwegian love to celebrate. Even the foreign people in Norway participate in the public party, winking with the Norwegian flag and wear beautiful clothes… It’s not only a day for native Norwegians, but for everybody that love Norway as a free country, a democracy, where you can do what you want with your life!
Today is Norway’s patriot day, the great official flag day!
The only day the Norwegians celebrate anything
Norwegians are not known to be a party nation, and the rest of the year (17.May until 24.December there are no RED public festive days at all! The Norwegians don’t celebrate anything! The rest of the year the Norwegians stay at home on festive day… E.g. the Christmas and Easter… The climate could be one of the reasons. Who wants to go out in the cold weather? 17.May is ofen marked as beginning of summer, although weather in Norway is still quite instable… It has happened that snow has appeared even in Oslo on the 17.May! The weather forecast for 17.May 2015 is’nt the best: It may be rain and 10 degrees in the capital, while the second biggest city Bergen will have more rain than Oslo… It looks like the Northern parts of Norway will get the best weather this year! Weather talk is very important for the Norwegians, as the summer is very short and can be a huge dissapointment. Temperatures of 20-25 degrees isn’t granted even in July and August, that’s also one of the reasons why many Norwegians prefer to have some weeks in Southern Europe during their summer vacations.
A great difference between the Norwegians and Swedish constitution day
While the Norwegians celebrate the constitution day massively, the Swedish people don’t celebrate their constitution day at all. It was made a public day off just 4 years ago, and people prefer to stay at home and work in their gardens, as not being taken for nationalists. They prefer to celebrate other days instead, like Valborg (end of April) and Midtsommar 24.June). Many Swedish people have commented it: -We are not nationalists! We haven’t the need to celebrate our country with flag and parades!
Today is Norway’s patriot day, the great official flag day! Being a patriot? Or a nationalist? Or just show their love to the country? Does it make any sense?
This is a normal view in the cities of Norway. On the national day, everybody is wearing nice clothes, local costume (named “Bunad” based on traditions and the local districts of Norway where you come from), beautiful suits and dresses. And people scream: “Hurra!”
International celebration of the Norwegian constitution day worldwide
Did you know that Norwegians even celebrate 17.May in other countries? There are massive parades in many countries where many Norwegians live, like in London where there is a local Norwegian community, small Spanish towns with many retired Norwegians settled, Australia where many Norwegian youth are studying, and even in the United States there are small villages where many Norwegian immigrants are settled.
Proud of being Norwegian?
We can understand that the day is a highlight in many Norwegian churches in forreign countries, where Norwegians go to feel home… We could also understand that Norwegians were proud of being independent after the german allicane conquered the nation during World War 2, and the next years afterwards when the country had to be built up again. But why is 17.May such a patriotic day inside of the country today, 70 years after the war? Can’t the Norwegians get enough of their own culture and country? Is their tradition to celebrate the constitution day so imporantant for everybody? And why are they not scared to be stamped “patriots” by other nations?
17.May is Norway’s greatest day of the year.
And why is Norway the only country where the constitution day is celebrated like this? Why can’t the Norwegians be quiet – just as they are the other 364 days a year? Do they think their country is better? Are they so proud of being Norwegians?
17.May is a weird tradition in Norway that never seems to stop…
This is how the Norwegian constituion day is celebrated in a Norwegian community outside of Norway – Alfas, near Alicante, Spain.