About the changing world all around us

Hurray hurray for the 17th of May. If you have not already read Renny’s post you may not know that this is Norway’s Constitution Day. A lively day filled with parades, activities for the children, beautiful traditional clothes, blooming spring flowers, marching bands and plenty of ice cream and hot dogs.

Happy 17 May

Happy 17 May

Throughout the land schools set up local children’s parades. These parades are not for children – it is the children who are the stars of the show. Marching to the brass band, waving their flags and at their moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas along the crowded sidewalk they celebrate the day. All traffic comes to a standstill and the joy of the children and the band fills the air.

The Peoples celebration

The Peoples celebration

I remember so well when my children were small how they loved to get dressed up in their best clothes, usually needed new shoes each year for the occasion hehehe, and marching with their class. Afterwards the children school set up games and contests for the children. And the marching band had their cake sale so all the people could have something delicious to celebrate the day with.

Bunad and ice cream

Bunad and ice cream

One thing which can always be seen on the 17th of May is the Norwegian regional clothing called “Bundad”. Many Norwegians have invested in their local dress or suit which is used only for very special occasions such as weddings, christenings, confirmation, and of course the 17th of May. The costumes may look different when you see them in the photos, but each region has its own style. Hulda Garborg was one of the first to lead the effort to take care of the old Norwegian folk costume tradition. At the end of the 1800’s she began making costumes for the folk dancers to perform in, and it developed into an organisation of the “Bunad” tradition. The decoration on the bunad is representative of the district it comes from, often including local flowers or patterns from the region.

Russ Bus with a Russ girl standing outside

Russ Bus with a Russ girl standing outside

And of course the modern 17th of May celebration would not be complete without the Graduates celebration known as Russ. In the larger cities and especially in Oslo the Russ get together – 25 participants or so – and buy up a bus to travel around in their 1 month long celebration. They paint and decorate the busses and no Russ bus would be caught dead without a huge stereo system to wake all the neighbours and spark off the celebration!


Comments on: "17th of May in Oslo, 2009" (10)

  1. Lovely photos! Happy syttende mai! And congratulations x millions for the 1st place of Eurovision song contest too!

    Happy times for Norway! YAY!

    Cheers 😛

    DianeCA: Thanks a million too! Hope you had a lovely trip. I will keep watching 🙂

  2. Lovely photos. And so glad to see you had wonderful weather for the occasion!

    DianeCA: It was a beautiful day and up around 20 degrees C (or 70 F) and a new attendance record for the celebration in Oslo I think.

  3. Happy National Day, Diane!!! It seems that the weather was nice too in Norway today!

    Thank you so much for your wonderful compliment to my post today – you made me blush, Diane 🙂

    Sue’s Daily Photography

    Your photos are wonderful Susanne, next year’s calendar is going to be a sell out!

  4. Looks like fun. I love regional/national celebrations.

    DianeCA: It’s one of my favourite days of the year. My mom came over twice for the 17th of May because she found out it was so much fun!

  5. I’m interested in the pretty Bundad costume. I wish Singapore has a traditional costume that I can wear proudly. I

    I’m with you there. I envy the Bundad. I can’t wear Bunad because it should represent where your blood lines come from – and mine come from NY and before that Ireland. I did consider trying to find out what the local costume for my family in Ireland would be though….

  6. We have to wait until 21st of July !

  7. Great photos! Looks like much better weather than last year too.

  8. It’s funny that it’s so early in the year for a National Day. I have the theory that most countries hold their national day when the weather is nice and hot (i.e Canada, USA and France is July, China is October, past the typhoon season etc.).

    Since Norway is quite cold, I would have thought it was later…

    But the weather seemed great!

  9. the bunad tradition is very interesting. i’m so glad you shared that part of the celebration since i am not sure i have ever seen that before from you or renny.

  10. Wow – guess we were lucky with the weather.
    And believe me, we must have been very close to each others.
    The second photo is allmost like one I took as well.

    But here, you showed much more of the celebrations than I did. (We had a very special guest)

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