Norway’s Constitution Day - Grunnlov

The Norwegian Constitution ('Grunnlov') of May 1814 is the oldest European constitution that is still in use, and the second oldest in the world – behind the American, by which it was inspired. 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. It is a public holiday in Norway.

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.

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.