Sunday, 29 May 2011

Celebrating Norway's National Day on 17th May 2011 - Syttnende Mai

Recently returned from Tonsberg, Norway, where Randi and I celebrated their National Day, "Syttende Mai" with her family and friends.  In 30 plus years of marriage, this was the first time I experienced the 17th May celebrations and I have to say those Norwegians really know how to party well! Although Oslo is the Norwegian capital, Tonsberg is the oldest town in Norway - actually inScandinavia (recently featured in the film "Thor") - and so National Day celebrations always means a lot there.

All age groups, young and old, participate and the town and people are festooned with flags and regional costumes, adding to the glitz and atmosphere. Celebrations begin early and carry on into the small hours with fireworks and parties rounding off the evening's delight.

A really great time was had by all!

A Little about Norway's National Day
After being part of the Danish autocracy for 400 years, Norway got its own constitution in 1814 and joined into a loose union with Sweden that lasted until 1905.

A limited and hereditary monarchy was introduced, whereby the king would exercise his authority through a government, while Parliament (Storting) would allocate monies and make laws. The Norwegian constitution was the most modern in Europe at the time.

Norway's Constitution, which declared the country to be an independent nation, was signed at Eidsvoll on 17 May 1814, and despite full independence having had to wait until 1905, this date remains Norway's official National Day.

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