Norway has not been independent of Sweden and Denmark for much more than a century, but in 1814 it developed a constitution upon its separation from Denmark, and that constitution is celebrated every May 17. I am lucky enough to be here for the bicentennial celebration in glorious weather and in the company of my good friend Cheryl.
The day started with some breakfast with friends of Cheryl’s, then a trip to the palace to wave at the king and to watch some of the children’s parade. After walking 5-7 miles every day this week up and down the hills of Oslo, my feet did not hold up well, so the day ended for me around 3. Cheryl was off to meet other friends, our breakfast hosts were headed to Aker Brygga, and I headed home to ice my feet.
Norwegians dress up for this event. If they are not wearing the region-speciific traditional costumes, or Bunader, they wear suits or dresses; I even saw many men in tuxedos. People eat ice cream and sausages (which look like completely nasty hotdogs, sometimes wrapped in half cooked bacon–I did not partake). There is drinking, but that seemed largely to be saved for the evening, excpet for champagne with breakfast.
I was glad to have had the opportunity to see these celebrations. Flowers, flags, fancy Bunaden everywhere. People eat ice cream and watch the lengthy children’s parade. A celebration of national culture, unlike our 4th of July which is much more a celebration of military history and might. Though The throwing of candy and the lightiing of fireworks makes for a pretty good time too.
Still, the end of the day with some sushi on the rooftop with Cheryl was as swell as any other part of a great day.