Norway celebrates soon its National Day, which is also called here 17th of May, because this is the date of it 🙂 Yesterday I read a post by Manja Mexi Movie about her experience with Norwegian flags, and it inspired me to go outside and take pictures of them. Luckily, in the advance of the great day many window shops have the national flag theme. I also hope that the weather will be kind to us next week and I hope to get outside and take some pictures for the blog. Thanks to the blog that it can kick me out in the inspiration rush because after many years here I am no longer amazed at the parade and use to stay at home to avoid the crowds (or even unpatriotically leave country for a sunnier place).
The ladies from the vintage store Manillusion welcome you to this post. As you can see, it is popular to dress in the colors of the Norwegian flag: red, white and blue. We even sing the song (or I used to sing them with kids when working at school): “Norge i rødt, hvit og blått” which tells about Norway in red, white and blue. But this is in case if you don’t have a national dress, called bunad. The dresses vary according to the regions, and it is really fun to walk around the city and see different styles and sometimes ask the ladies: “where does your bunad come from?” (I mean, for us foreigners it is fun, the locals don’t ask those stupid questions. They know). It feels like you are transported into some historical movie scene. Note, that the lady to the left of the picture is wearing a raincoat as it is quite possible to be rainy or even snowy in May. The last weeks weather has played many jokes with us, going from snowy rain in the end of April to the almost summer craze last week, and back to the snow and rain this week.
So if you happen to be in Norway on the 17th of May and forget your national dress, remember: red, white or blue clothes, a raincoat and Norwegian flag. By the way, it is ok to wear your own national dress too. In smaller town you will feel weird. I felt weird even just in jeans and no bunad when I lived in Haugesund. It was so easy to spot a foreigner on the street 🙂 Doesn’t make you comfortable. But in Oslo there’s such a variety of nations, that no one is surprised at the sight of Scottish kilt, or Mexican sombrero or Indian sari. I have seen them all, and I was not surprised, I guess, the locals were neither.
Here are more ladies in the window of another vintage shop. The neighborhood Gruneløkka where I live is known to be that popular, hip and hipster hood in Oslo, and I don’t know another place with so many vintage and weird shops. The ladies are dressed in right colors, and they have the pins with the colors of the flag. It is a bit hard to see in the photo, but if you look well on the left pic, you will see a glass and a bottle of champagne. It is another good tradition to drink champagne for breakfast on this day (don’t ask me how it feels, I never tried it, sadly). The lady is wearing black-and-white outfit, not blue, but she doesn’t mind – after champagne you don’t mind, you see. And she put on her prettiest dress, plus pin and the flag – we cannot blame her!
The youngest are dressed in their prettiest clothes, also spotting a pin and a flag. 17th of May has a tradition of schoolchildren’s parade. The tradition goes back to the first celebration of this day in 1814 when the constitution was signed, because the other name for the day is the Constitution’s day. All schools have their place in the parade and march with their musical corps and kids waving the flags, walking up to the royal palace where the royal family is standing on the balcony greeting the kids. It is in Oslo, where the royal family lives. In other towns children march through the main streets. On the eve of 17th of May schools and kindergartens march in the neighborhood, with musical corps, making usually a stop at the elderly residence, singing songs for the elderly. As Norwegians proudly say: “Other nations exhibit their military power on the national day, making the parade of soldiers and tanks. We show the best we have – our children”.
If you google “17th of may Oslo/Norway”, you can see the great spirit of the celebration, people in bunads, and many many Norwegian flags. Yes, Norwegians are proud of their little country, and when I happen to sing the national anthem “Ja, vi elsker dette landet” (“Yes, we love this country”), I got sentimental and proud too 🙂 And who wouldn’t?