Friday, 17 May 2013

Norwegian National Day - May 17th

I remember hearing a sarcastic non Norwegian politician saying "It is nice to see the children saluting their leaders" on the 17th of May. Originally May 17th was the day the Norwegian constitution was signed. Later a tradition of celebration started via Henrik Wergeland's work. Wergeland being a national poet believing in the nation building project, trying to take Norway from a small country on the outskirts of Europe to an independent state.


Wergeland started a celebration for children and you find a parade of schoolchildren in every town - in Oslo it culminates in front of the castle, the children waving to the king and queen. In my time, we used to shout the king's first name when passing the castle, no your majesty or anything, just his first name.

People dress up in their finery, enjoying time with their family on the 17th of May, the bunad (Norwegian folk costume) being dress or suit of choice. I love Wergeland's vision, his poetry and the sweet memories of the day from my childhood. 

Norwegian parliament building, its chief official waving to the children. The marching band passing were playing samba :) - the marching bands are getting quite good these days!

The castle, when the flag is up, the king is home. Oslo's castle is one of Europe's smallest apparently.  I try to be a bit careful about exposing stranger's faces, by the way

Pretty, pretty girls with bunads

Two elegant, manly bunad men :)

Cute hats as well, I wish I had asked where she got that one!

Gorgeous girls in bunad

More lovely girls in bunad

The hem of the Oslo bunad

Street fashion

The university's older buildings, now the legal faculty

Bunad girls

I love men showing off their bunad finery! 

3 comments:

gésbi said...

Thank you for the explanation, Kristin. Happy National Day! It's a lovely custom and wonderful to think of all the indiviual work that goes into making those costumes. It is also nice to see the men with a little embroidery for once!
PS Nice that you pay attention to faces. Not everyone has that approach! (Now that's an understatement.)

gésbi said...

So pretty - I just looked back again!

Also, I have a hat like that green one! Mine is rust colored without plumes and I got it in the Vaucluse. I need a hat pin for it because with the enormous brim, it catches the wind easily!

Kristin Linnea Backe said...

I want a hat like that! I tried on a typical English wedding hat when visiting my London friend, but nothing like this one. It is so lovely!! Lucky you!!!

Blog Archive