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17th May

June 14, 2011

The 17th of May is a big holiday in Norway.  It is the day that the Norwegian Constitution was signed in 1814 declaring Norway as an independant nation. However Norway remained under Swedish control until 1905. There’s some strange strategic wranglings that went on in 1814 between Denmark and Sweden and who had control of Norway. Anyway Norwegians celebrate the 17th of May all day from early morning with breakfast, through to the evening.  One of the big events is the barnatog (children’s parade) along Karl Johans gate towards the palace. School bands and groups of school children parade in front of the Royal family who wave and doff their hats to all the different schools in the parade.  There are so many schools in Oslo that they hold a draw every year to decide who will be in the parade. Even though not all schools participate the barnatog goes on for 4 hours – yes you did read that correctly!

But it’s not only about parades but also bunads (national dress which varies from region to region) and the occasional man in a kilt!

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And you can eat as much ice cream as you like!

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