Tomorrow, the 17th May, the centre of Torrevieja will be awash with red, white and blue as the 2,400 Norwegians registered in the town are expected to take to the streets in celebration of their country’s Constitution Day.
Norway’s Constitution was signed at Eidsvoll on May 17th 1814, effectively ending Swedish rule and declaring Norway an independent nation. To celebrate this special day, all over Norway school children parade through the streets of their town with flags, marching bands, singing and speeches. The longest parade takes place in Oslo, where over 100,000 people travel from the surrounding areas to take part in the celebrations.
During the parade itself a marching band will play while children sing lyrics celebrating this very special national day. The parade then comes to a halt and everyone sings the national anthem “Ja, vi elsker dette landet” (typically verses 1, 7 and 8), and the royal anthem “Kongesangen“.
In addition to flags, people typically wear red, white and blue ribbons. It has also become popular lately for men, women, and children to wear traditional outfits, called bunad.
If you’re a child, the celebrations are a dream come true as you can be as loud as you like, with many shouting “Hurrah!”, singing, blowing whistles and shaking rattles. Once the parades and speeches are over, there are usually games for the children and, as you can imagine, a lot of ice cream, soft drinks, sweets and hot-dogs are consumed.
Norwegian Constitution Day is the National Day of Norway and is an official national holiday observed on May 17 each year. Among Norwegians, the day is referred to simply as syttende mai (meaning May Seventeenth), Nasjonaldagen (The National Day) or Grunnlovsdagen (The Constitution Day), although the latter is less frequent.
This year, the programme of events is as follows:
- 10:30 Meeting point the “Hombre del Mar” or Seaman Statue. Flags will be on sale here for those who need them.
- 11:00 Parade begins
- 11:45 Arrival at the “Parque de las Naciones” – Hot-dogs, ice creams & drinks on sale.
- 12:30 Show by students from the Royales Norwegian College, together with singing. Guest speaker is Grete Faremo (Norwegian Justice Minister).
- 14:00 The celebrations continue at the church, with further speeches given at the Royales Norwegian College. Hot-dogs, ice cream, drinks, coffee & cakes are on sale. Lottery plus games for the children.
- 17:30 The event at the church ends.
- 19:00 Special dinner at the Norwegian Club – Hotel Masa. You need to reserve for this event.
If you are going to Torrevieja to celebrate syttende mai this year, send us your photos & comments and we’ll publish them here and on our facebook page!