17th of May - to most people around the world it is a day like any other day. To Norwegians it is THE DAY. It is the Norwegian Constitution Day, or put another way - our National Day. What the 4th of July is to the people in USA and the 14th of July is to the French, the 17th of May is to us - only more so.
The day is in commemoration of the signing of the first national, Norwegian constitution in 1814. After 400 years of Danish rule, the Napoleonic wars had left Norway to be transferred as a booty of war from Denmark to Sweden. However, the Norwegians wanted it otherwise. A national assembly was called at Eidsvold outside Oslo (then called Christiania) and they signed the worlds most liberal constitution on this day. True, after a short war with Sweden, Norway had to accept a personal union with Sweden under the rule of king Carl Johan. But the constitution was kept almost unchanged and Norway had a very high degree of independence within the union until total independence was declared on the 7 of June 1905. But the 17 th of May is the greatest day in our historty.
Typical for the celebration is the almost total lack of military presence in the various parades. It is the people of Norway who celebrates. It is a civillian celebration.
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