Home: Images of Norway 
 Highlands   Lowland   Road   Man-made   Churches   Springtime 


girl

Constitution Day

flag   Nobody celebrate their national holiday like us Norwegians, but that should not be taken as extreme nationalism. It's true that nationalism was an important incentive before 1905 when we were still in union with Sweden, but already in the late 19th century the celebration got an element of children's day. Today it's partly for the children (our future!), but also a family day. And we're celebrating that the winter has ended, the summer is close, the nights are already short, and the land is getting green again.


Shots from the schools' procession in Trondheim 17 May 2004 and 2013.
In 2004 the day was somewhat chilly, but in 2013 it was unusually warm.


On Constitution Day we are often awaken very early by a brass band marching and playing in the streets. Later there are one or more processions, but always one where school children participate. In the processions and elsewhere there are Norwegian flags, big ones and innumerable small ones. And most important for us on this latitude: The trees are getting green! (2013)

size 1024×768 pixels


A Danish flag on top of the building housing the Danish consulate. Back in 1814 several things happened: We left the union with Denmark after 434 years. Then Norwegian delegates agreed to the new Constitution in Eidsvoll, that's what we're celebrating here today. Later that year we joined Sweden in a new union which lasted till 1905 (but that is never celebrated). (2013)

size 1024×768 pixels


A procession needs music. Some schools have their own brass bands and a couple of "oldboys" bands also participated. (2013)

size 1024×768 pixels


Our future. Celebrating Constitution Day is a serious matter, but this is of course also an unofficial Children's Day. (2004)

size 1024×768 pixels


Our future. First grade, a little guidance is sometimes needed. (2004)

size 1024×768 pixels


Our future. Also first grade and enthusiastic. (2004)

size 1024×768 pixels


Somewhat older pupils, and the girls are the most enthusiastic ones. (2013)

size 1024×768 pixels


College students traditionally celebrate the end of school (before going to the university etc.), wearing the characteristic red caps. This celebration culminates on the 17th of May. (2004)

size 1024×768 pixels


National costumes, called "bunad" are used only on special occasions. They have been designed mainly during the last hundred years, using much older costumes as guidance. Since 1947 there has been a Government council approving new costumes, and there are now about 450 approved national costumes for smaller and larger districts. Trondheim is the biggest town in Trøndelag, so naturally there are many girls with Trøndelag "bunad" to be seen. Unique to this type, it comes in four color variants: blue, red and green as represented here, and now also black. There are also three (lesser) variations of the apron. (2013)

size 1024×768 pixels


A "bunad", including the silver, may cost USD 5,000, or probably up to twice as much for some types, but still three fourth of adult Norwegian women now owns one. This picture shows more girls wearing Trøndelag "bunad"; as for the other ones, don't ask me. (2013)

size 1024×768 pixels


In addition to the red Trøndelag "bunad" this picture shows three (green) ones from Nordland, the county immediately north of Trøndelag. (2004)

size 1024×768 pixels


More Trøndelag girls, but to the left there are two men also wearing national costumes. Few men wear "bunad", therefore I happily show mostly girls in this section. Please note that most adult persons in the children's procession are teachers. (2013)

size 1024×768 pixels


To point out that a "bunad" is made of woolen fabrics. It's sometimes a bit uncomfortable wearing it on those warm and sunny days that we all want for the great celebrations. (2013)

size 1024×768 pixels


Some, particularly children, wear similar, but simpler and unapproved costumes. In this picture I can spot two small girls wearing the true Trøndelag "bunad". (2013)

size 1024×768 pixels


Hereabouts people say that the Norwegian flag is the world's most beautiful one. As I'm disqualified I can't comment on that. (2013)

size 1024×768 pixels


On the seventeenth of May we all greet each other: "Gratulerer med dagen", the equivalent of "Happy birthday". It's the nation's birthday and thus our shared birthday. (2013)

size 1024×768 pixels

Asking a child what he likes best about the Constitution Day, he would most likely say: "Ice cream!" Sorry, no picture of ice cream spilled on a beautiful costume. Happy birthday!


... and in Trondheim there are two more processions later this day: The "student's" procession and the "people's" procession.

Olav Tryggvason

You may also wish to see my  Trondheim  page


top of page

- - -

changed 2014-05-24