Peoples Parade 17 May

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I missed the childrens parade in the morning on our National Day, insted I went to the city and had the best 17 May ever. This is from the parade we call The Peoples Parade. It lasted for hours, and more people than usually participated because on this day our Constitution celebrated 200 years. 17 May is very important in Norway, especially in the years since WWII, when the democracy defeated the Nazi occupation. And since we are a small country there is still quite a lot of unity and traditions. Many are using traditional costymes, that shows from which region they come from.

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Norway was ruled by Viking kings, a thousand years ago. Then in a union with Denmark 1536–1814, and even if we were independent from 1814, we still had a kind of union with Sweden until 1905. Then we got our first King of our own since 1387, a Danish prince and elected monarch. The picture below is showing King Haakon VII of Norway as he looked about the time he arrived in Norway in 1905, with his wife,  Queen Maud (former Princess of Wales) and Crown Prince Olav. The were to become a very popular royal family in Norway, a symbol of unity without any real political power.

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A lot of sports groups participate in this parade, and police, the fire brigade, and I even saw some soldiers. It is this variety that keeps a community and a country together. There are more photos from this day in this 17 May link.

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I have seen parades on Sardinia in Italy, much more spetacular than this, and in a way very similar, with overwhelming display of traditional costumes.  I think it is important that we celebrate our countries, to help build them better, and I don’t meant that kind of nationalism that means you are supposed to be better than others, but for unity, democracy and freedom.  We are lucky and have a lot of freedom in Scandinavia, but I want to quote Nelson Mandela:  “Freedom can never be taken for granted. Each generation must safeguard it and extend it.”

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Some our new citizens were of course present in the procession (below), but there were few from the Sámi present, the indigenous people of Norway. I actually just saw this woman (above) with a costume from the north.

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Somebody wondered how the parade sounded, so I made a short video of the few recordings I got: https://vimeo.com/95853465

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56 thoughts on “Peoples Parade 17 May

    1. I guess so, but sort of connected too. I think if changes in a country happens too fast and too overwhelming, you risk losing the unity and fellowship of the community. If some groups are left alone, or don’t want to participate, we risk a divided country.

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    1. You have to be proud. England accepted our King and his family when the Nazis invaded in 1940, when they were denied in Sweden. So Norway was ruled from exile in UK for 5 years. Thanks, Andrew.

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    1. Yes, it is. These traditions have been disputed the last couple of years. Some people means there is no such things as “Norwegian traditions” or “Norwegian culture” since we are now a multucultural country. I am glad to see they still exists and are celebrated. Every country needs traditions. Thanks, Emilie.

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  1. We were going to go to Stoughton, the town we camped in that many Norwegians settled in, but it was booked solid. They were having a National Day celebration in the town. Looks like a lot of fun! 🎉 We’re going back to the town in July.

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    1. I get kind of ashamed. It may looks as Norwegians are boasting since there are this kind of celebration in other countries. But we have never been an invasive country (exept some piracy 1000 years ago) and the intention is not to “convert” anybody to be Norwegian. It is just celebration and joy. I see this little town celebrate 17 May for 3 days! Wow, that is even more than we. Hope you’ll have a good time there in July.

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      1. Nah, no need to be ashamed, how many people can boast being indigenous to their location? Not many. I’m of German descent. Although I do live less than 20 miles from where I was born.
        I do feel bad for the American Indians, as I truly feel they got the shaft from the Europeans. But… what are ya gonna do??
        I love the variety of cultures we have and the opportunity to visit a far away land… less than 3 hours away! 😃

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  2. Fabulous photos of your National Day, Bente. I love the colour, costumes and traditions you still keep in Norway. This series also is a wonderful way to share the diversity of the actual parade participants. I like the angle you shot the parade too.

    How lucky you are to live in such a community.

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      1. Yes, I totally agree. But our traditions aren’t by no means so vivid and alive as in Norway. And because of our terrible history it’s very unusual and also unthinkable to see such a sea of our national flag. Expect while the FIFA World Cup. 😉 So most Germans have an ambivalent relationship to their own country and especially the national flag. Sad, but true.

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      2. I know, I know. So sad. We probably need one or two ore even more generations to get lass ambivalent and feel totally reunited. I was so thrilled when the Germans got their flags out for the WM. And that’s the magic: it’s not only the flag itself. It’s the emotion. To feel united, to be proud, to love, to be grateful. 17.Mai is the day when the Norwegians feel most Norwegian. A major ingredient is emotion. And good weather! 🙂

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  3. Bente, beautiful photos! What a lovely day for celebrating Norway! I hadn’t realized that Denmark and Norway were united for so long, and that the first King was Danish. Hmmmm, you and I might be related somewhere back there. Nina Hansen.

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  4. A smashing post Bente! It’s lovely to see your people proud to be Norwegian and not afraid to celebrate your nationality. I’m rather afraid political correctness and the fear of offending our ‘guests’ have put paid to anything like this here in the UK. I hope that Norway can hang on to it!

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  5. You have outdone yourself on that beautiful day Bente ❤
    Gratulerer endnu engang. Vi så lidt af festdagen på norsk tv, og det var en smuk fest.
    Mange gode hilsner til dig, Bente.
    Hanna

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  6. Your celebration reminded me somewhat of Latvia’s. But we have the opposite problem in that the natives are leaving because there are no jobs.

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  7. Merci de nous présenter ton pays. Je découvre et je trouve que tout cela est bien coloré. Il fait meilleur chez toi un 17 mai que chez nous 😉 bon week-end Bente

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  8. Just today I was listening to a podcast about Norway’s National Day. What a lovely celebration. The parade looks like everyone is having a wonderful time. The traditional costumes are so bright and cheerful. It made me want to come visit!

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  9. ååå! Trondheim på 17mai!
    Den eneste gangen i året jeg savner Trondheim er faktisk 17 mai. byen virkelig kan å feire nasjonaldag og folketoget er viktig i det. Ti student-og-poststudent 17-mai-feiringer i Trondheim ble det på meg, og jeg savner det hvert år!

    Takk for fine bilder, og fine minner 🙂

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