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17 May Constitution Day (1814) in Norway

Quick Facts

Norway’s Constitution Day is an official public holiday that is annually celebrated on May 17.

Local names

NameLanguage
grunnlovsdagNorwegian
grunnlovsdagNorwegian (nynorsk)
17 May Constitution Day (1814)English
Tag der Verfassung (Nationalfeiertag)German

17 May Constitution Day (1814) 2014

Saturday, May 17, 2014

17 May Constitution Day (1814) 2015

Sunday, May 17, 2015
List of dates for other years

Norway’s Constitution Day is celebrated on May 17. It commemorates the date when the nation's constitution was signed at Eidsvoll on May 17, 1814. It is usually referred to as syttende mai (May 17) or Nasjonaldagen (The National Day) in Norwegian.

Flag bearers lead a National Day parade in Norway on May 17.

©iStockphoto.com/FramedView

What do people do?

Constitution Day celebrations follow a traditional pattern of parades involving schools, high school graduates, bands, and other members and organizations within the local community. Many people, especially children, dress in their finest clothes on this day. Some choose to wear a bunad, which is a traditional Norwegian costume.  There are many games, activities and social gatherings on this day.

Many Norwegians and people with Norwegian ancestry also celebrate the day in different countries around the world.  Celebrations, dinners and festivals are held in various places across the United States. These are supported by organizations such as Sons of Norway.

In some Australian cities in previous years, people of Norwegian heritage participated in a special street parade to celebrate Constitution Day on May 17. The Orkney Norway Friendship Association celebrates Norway’s Constitution Day in Orkney, Scotland, to recognize the islands' strong historic links with Norway.

Public life

Norway’s Constitution Day is a public holiday in Norway. Schools, public offices and businesses are closed. Road users need to take into account that some streets, particularly in the town centres, will be closed and there may be traffic because of the parades that take place on the day, which attract crowds.

Background

Norway adopted its constitution in 1814 and this event that is celebrated May 17. The Norwegian Parliament, known as Storting, held the first May 17 celebrations in 1836. From that point onwards, it was regarded as the national day. The first children's parade was held in 1870. Interestingly, World War II ended in Norway only nine days before Constitution Day – on May 8, 1945. This was the time when the occupying German forces surrendered in Norway.

From 1906 onwards, the Norwegian royal family has gathered on the balcony of the Royal Palace in Oslo, which is Norway’s capital city, to wave to the marching children on Constitution Day each year.

Symbols

The bunad, a traditional Norwegian dress, can be worn during Constitution Day. It varies in appearance from region to region, and may feature flower motifs, stripes and pleats. Embroidery can be used on many different parts of the costume, including bonnets, belts, aprons, skirts, shirts, and bodices.

An abundance of flags are also seen on this day. The Norwegian flag is red with an indigo blue Scandinavian cross outlined in white that extends to the edges of the flag. The vertical part of the cross is shifted to the hoist side in the style of the Dannebrog, the flag of Denmark.

17 May Constitution Day (1814) Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday type
ThuMay 17199017 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
FriMay 17199117 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
SunMay 17199217 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
MonMay 17199317 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
TueMay 17199417 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
WedMay 17199517 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
FriMay 17199617 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
SatMay 17199717 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
SunMay 17199817 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
MonMay 17199917 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
WedMay 17200017 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
ThuMay 17200117 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
FriMay 17200217 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
SatMay 17200317 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
MonMay 17200417 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
TueMay 17200517 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
WedMay 17200617 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
ThuMay 17200717 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
SatMay 17200817 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
SunMay 17200917 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
MonMay 17201017 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
TueMay 17201117 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
ThuMay 17201217 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
FriMay 17201317 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
SatMay 17201417 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
SunMay 17201517 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
TueMay 17201617 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
WedMay 17201717 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
ThuMay 17201817 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
FriMay 17201917 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day
SunMay 17202017 May Constitution Day (1814)National holiday, Flag day

Other holidays in May 2014 in Norway

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