Syttende Mai (17th of May)
Syttende Mai is Constitution Day – the Constitution that was ratified by the National Assembly at Eidsvoll in 1814, and has through some changes seen us through to today.
As a symbol the Constitution represents also two great themes, national independence and political freedom – democracy and the rights of citizenship. Norwegian patriotism of the 1800s tied these two aspects together as the idea ”Norwegian freedom.” Later on this concept of freedom took on new meanings, for example international peace work.
Syttende Mai is also a family day, but the difference from all other Norwegian holidays is first and foremost this: it is the only day the most important events take place out in the public space rather than in the four walls of the home.
Syttende Mai has become a day for the children, even though it was not originally. The children’s parades became a big success from 1870 on, and have become the most popular event on Syttende Mai. And with the children in the city center, many other things follow: ice cream, soda and sausages.