Thursday, May 17, 2012

Norway Celebrates Independence Day

This morning I was awoken at 7 am by the sounds of a canon. It is the 17th of May, 198 years since Norway signed its constitution and declared independence from the Danes.

Each year the senior students called "Russ" have spent the night in preparation of the big day that marks their graduation from school. Most of them have partied all night in their school uniforms and the goal is to see who can stay on their feet the longest. My daughter this year is one of them.


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. My husband marches out front carrying the banner flag for one of them. He has retired from playing but he still like to dress up in his uniform and march along. 


Where am I in all of this? Comforting our dog who we have dosed with Valium because the sounds of a music band petrify her just as much as fireworks. I don't have to go far, several parades with bands pass right outside our window. 



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. Today they eat a lot of ice cream because they can!

For all my Norwegian friends and family around the world, may your day be full of laughter, love and pride for who you are.


10 comments:

Lady in Red said...

Hi, I'm just bounding about looking for new things to read. This was an interesting post - and something I knew nothing about! I love the pictures you included - and hope your daughter had a blast :-)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Happy Independence Day! Sorry about your poor dog. He'll really need the Valium in two years when it's for two hundred years.

Jeremy Bates said...

Independence Day celebrations are full of vigor and life everywhere around the world. I hope you enjoy yours. Poor dog, he has to get used to it one way or another.

lizy-expat-writer said...

Happy Independence Day. One of my Writers' Circle is half Norwegian and is spending her summer over there. Hope the dog recovers - my cat is equally terrified and the Spanish set off fireworks for everything, including each goal their favourite football team scores.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Siv .. great post - lucky you to live so conveniently .. it sounds such a vantage point - and sounds a wonderful celebration .. think about two years hence .. 200 years .. just fantastic ..

Poor dogs and cats and birds and .. and .. and ... they all hate loud unexpected noises ..

Enjoy the day and look after your exhausted daughter when she does eventually get home!!

Cheers and here's to Norway Day .. happy times - Hilary

Lynn Proctor said...

happy independence day--and hope your little doggie gets on okay

Craziness abounds said...

Happy Independence day! That sounds like a lot of fun. Wish I could be there to join the party or take some of your dogs valium. lol

Lady in Red said...

Thank you so much for the visit, comment and tweet! I really appreciate it :-)

Lady in Red said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sean McLachlan said...

Happy Independence Day! (Two days late)