Syttende mai, Norwegian Constitution Day

Syttende mai, Norwegian Constitution Day
Norwegian folk dancers particpate in the syttende mai or Constitution Day celebration each May 17.

A video celebrating Norway’s 17th of May celebration. Click here to enjoy a video of Norway’s Constitution Day Parade (syttendemaitog) including the Barnetog or Children’s Parade.

The Norwegian Constitution Day, celebrated each May 17th, is the country’s National Day. Norwegians call it søttende mai (meaning May Seventeenth), Nasjonaldagen (The National Day) or sometimes Grunnlovsdagen (The Constitution Day.

The national holiday celebrates Norway’s independence from Sweden in 1905, although it had been celebrated since 1814 when the Constitution of Norway declared the country to be an independent nation.

As you will see in the video, the parade is of and by the people. Few military units (other than the Royal Guard) take part and the parade consists of 4-5 hours of marching groups and bands from schools in Oslo and from other parts of the country, marching down Karl Johans Street to Slottet, the Royal Palace and parading past members of Norway’s Royal Family. The bands play and children sing songs with lyrics celebrating National Day.

Many of those participating wear bunad, the national costume which varies from region to region. The spirit of the crowd is joyous and informal.