All the children dress up in their fancy clothes . If they are lucky, and many are, they dress up in their national costumes. Shoes are shined, hair slicked back, ribbons in place and most important a small Norwegian flag to carry. The marching bands have been practicing all year for this event and their shiny instruments and drums are ready to set the streets alive with music.
All over Norway, bells chime, guns sound of several solutes and children line up behind the music to start the parade. In Oslo the Royal family stands on the terrace of the palace and greets the thousands of children that pass below them. For Norwegians there is a special meaning behind this day, one that is separate from a declaration of independence. During WW2 Norwegians were not allowed by the Germans which occupied this country to celebrate their national holiday or to honor their flag. Norwegians would have to celebrate in secret among friends and family. Today on the 17th of May this beautiful country and its people celebrate in extra glory knowing full well what it is like not being able to do so.
For all my Norwegian friends and family around the world, may your day be full of laughter, love and pride for who you are.