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