The 17th of May is a special day for Norwegians; it commemorates their Constitution Day – Norwegians call it Syttende Mai. Our group was fortunate enough to be in Oslo, the capital of Norway, on the 17th of May itself, and was able to witness the celebrations firsthand, right in the centre of the parade area. From early morning, the Norwegians were up and about, with entire families, including the toddlers, dressed in their national costume. By 10am, the streets leading up to the palace were lined with the native Norwegians shouting enthusiastically and waving the Norwegian flags.
The parade was designed to lead the marching contingents up a straight road, to eventually march past the royal palace, where the royal family stands on a balcony overlooking the parade and waves to their devoted subjects. We were able to stand right in front of the royal palace, so we were in close proximity to the parade in close proximity and to the royal family standing on the palace balcony.
There, we had the chance to interact with some of the jovial locals and share in the joy of their national celebration. The 17th of May is an official holiday, which commemorates the independence of Norway in 1814. One interesting aspect is that the parade is non-military in nature, and tends to focus on the royal family, as well as school children, but does not feature the military like the national days of other countries such as Singapore or the People’s Republic of China.
– Ho Bao Yuan