A noteworthy aspect of the Norwegian Constitution Day is its very non-military nature. All over Norway, children's parades form the central element of the celebration. Each elementary school district arranges its own parade with marching bands between schools. The parade takes the children through the community, often making stops at homes of senior citizens, war memorials, etc. The biggest parade is in Oslo, where over 100,000 people would travel to the city centre to participate in the festivities.
The poet Henrik Wergeland is credited with making Syttende mai a celebratory day for the children rather than a day of patriotic pride examplified by military parades, on the basis that children are the country’s future and prosperity should not be determined by military might.
Although the Constitution of Norway was signed at Eidsvoll on May 17 in the year 1814, the celebration of the day was not encouraged by the monarchy until much later since it was thought that the celebration was a kind of protest against the Swedish sovereignty. After 1864, the day became more established, and the first children's parade was launched in Christiania, in a parade consisting only of boys. This initiative was taken by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, although Wergeland organized the first known children's parade at Eidsvoll around 1820. It was only in 1899 that girls were allowed to join in the parade for the first time.
We NFCs of the catblogosphere make no discrimination. We encourage all to join in the celebration.
Cheers to Norway!!!
Cheers to the NFCs!!!!!
Top left - Miss Kitty, top right - Siena, bottom left - Fin, bottom right - moi!