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What to learn about May 17th in Norway

Every year on 17th May Norway celebrates its National Day, more specifically, the Constitution Day. This year’s celebration will be exceptionally lavish as it is exactly 200 years since the Norwegian Constitution was adopted.

17th May in Norway

If you haven’t been to Norway yet, it’s worth visiting the country on May 17th! A live celebration of the Constitution Day will certainly be an unforgettable experience!

It is worth noting that the solemn atmosphere of the national holiday is shared by all Norwegians. It is a day of universal joy and people smiling at each other and saying “Gratulerer med dagen”! (Happy birthday!).

These are the words you need to know when you are in Norway that day:


The Norwegian Constitution (grunnloven) was passed on May 17, 1814 in Eidsvoll, which is why this day is called Grunnlovsdagen, or Constitution Day. 17 May is a public holiday and is celebrated throughout Norway.


Many Norwegians wear their national costume, called bunadas, on this day. These creations vary according to the region they come from. These traditional clothes are hand sewn and embroidered. Each piece of clothing is precisely defined, authenticity is preserved and there are even so-called “bunny commandments”. (bunadsbud). For example, women in this outfit should have very delicate make-up. People who don’t wear bunadas, dress in the best clothes and pin red, white and blue cotillion.


Norway is probably the only country where in the National Day march, instead of troops or politicians, there are … children. For this reason, the parade is called a barnetoget, which is a children’s parade, and the whole celebration is sometimes called a “children’s day”. (barnas dag :). The largest children’s parade is organized in Oslo. It is attended by students from all schools in the capital city accompanied by school orchestras, singing, waving flags in national colours and shouting “Hipp, hipp hurrah!”. They head towards the Royal Palace, where all members of the Norwegian royal family greet all from the balcony.


Russ are high school final year students who wear red or blue outfits and characteristic hats from 1 to 17 May to celebrate the end of 13 years of school education. The most popular customs include buying old buses and repainting them in fancy patterns, creating funny business cards and newspapers and… crazy fun with plenty of percentage drinks.

Potetløp, is og pølser

After the school parade, there are various games for the children in the schools, such as pulling a rope, running with a potato on a spoon (potetløp), bag races and lotteries. Norwegian kids can eat as much ice cream (is) and hot dogs (pølser med brød) and drink as much brushes (carbonated drinks) as they want.

Words you need to know:

Å vinke – wave

En fane – banner

En brus – sweet aerated beverage

En is – ice cream

En bunad – Norwegian national costume

En kongefamilie – royal family

En nasjonalsang – national anthem

En grunnlov – constitution

En grunnlovsdag – Constitution Day

En pølse med brød – hot dog

En russ – a student in the final year of high school celebrating the end of school

Et barnettog – children’s parade

Et skolekorps – school orchestra

Et flagg – flag

Et kongeslott – royal palace

Ja, vi elsker... – the first words of the Norwegian national anthem

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