May 17th is a very special day in Norway! Everybody dresses up and goes downtown in the morning in every city, town and village to watch the parade of schools and marching bands. The children are allowed to eat as much ice cream as they want. It is a day of fun. After the Second World War it has become a day of thankfulness – for freedom and peace. During the war flags were forbidden. After the war flags are carried by almost everyone on May 17th as a sign of freedom.
Actually it is the Constitution Day, but all Norwegians call it just 17. mai (May 17th).
Instead of celebrating the day in Drammen, I went to Oslo in the morning to see the parade there. My Japanese guest wanted to experience the day like in the pictures he has seen in books.
This is the famous street called Karl Johan. In the background you can see the Royal Palace. People lined up along the street long before the parade started.
I dressed in bunad – my national costume. It was unusually cold that day.
Before the main parade we could watch folk dance. フォークダンス
The parade took several hours. More than 100 schools – about 60 000 students – participated.
In front of each school there was a marching band. Adults and children.
It is a day for everybody to enjoy! 皆の楽しい日です。
Almost at the end of the parade are the russ – the graduating high school students. They wear red clothes. At the begining and the very end we see the marching band of the Royal Guard and a few police officers riding on horses.
The highlight for the children in the parade is marching in front of the Royal Palace and wave to the royal family on the balcony. They wave to the children in the parade for hours. Prince Sverre Magnus looks a little tired…
You find flags everywhere on May 17th. Even flower decorations keep to the flag colors.
Norwegians love their flag! ノルウェー人は旗が大好きです。
More information about the background of May 17th and the Royal Palace: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norwegian_Constitution_Day http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Palace,_Oslo