Celebrating Norwegian Values, Culture and Freedom

At Nuet our mission is to share Scandinavian moments with people all around the world. And there is no day more momentous to a Norwegian than the 17th of May, when we celebrate our constitution and all it represents.

We Ride at Dawn

With only 24 hours at our disposal, we have to make use of every moment the Constitution Day has to offer. To make the most of the day, many Norwegians start off by arranging a Champagne breakfast, inviting friends and family to kick off the best day of the year in great fashion. There is no better way to begin the day than with a feast of fresh pastries, crisp greens, sparkling bubbles, warm laughter and joy. 

The Constitution

As the name implies, the Constitution Day is the day we celebrate the Norwegian constitution and the values it represents. For hundreds of years, Norway was a part of the Kingdom of Denmark-Norway, but as a result of the loss at the Battle of Leipzig in October of 1813, Norway was ceded to Sweden in January of 1814. In response to the ceding, Crown Prince Christian Frederik of Denmark-Norway started the Norwegian Independence Movement, and in April 1814 he gathered 122 Norwegian men, forming the Norwegian Constituent Assembly. For five weeks, the assembly drafted the constitution. On the 16th of May, the constitution was agreed to by all members of the Assembly, and it was signed the following day, declaring Norway an independent kingdom. Thus making the 17th of May the Norwegian Constitution Day.

Nation-wide Parades

The first thing many Norwegians think about when it comes to the Constitution Day is the parades. All over the country, millions of Norwegians march proudly in long parades around their home town, singing the national anthem, waving the flag, and celebrating the Norwegian freedom, values, and national pride. Thousands of happy Norwegians dressed in the Norwegian colours waving thousands of Norwegian flags is a truly remarkable sight.

Thousands of Norwegians parade on the Constitution Day.
The country’s largest parade follows Oslo’s main street, Karl Johans Gate, where over a hundred thousand Norwegians gather to celebrate the day.
In 2018 people from over 70 nations from all over the world were represented in the parade.

A Day of Diversity

The Constitution Day is not just for ethnical Norwegians, this is a day for everyone, everyone living in Norway, everyone in love with the Norwegian country and culture, and everyone taking part in the Norwegian society. It is not uncommon to see other countries’ flags waving alongside the Norwegian flag in parades and on balconies. This is a day celebrating our including values, and everyone is welcome, whether you are from Tromsø or Kabul. Around 90% of non-western immigrants in Norway celebrate the day just like other Norwegians, a true sign of the welcoming Norwegian culture and values.

From eight in the morning to nine in the evening the Norwegian flag is waving on poles from the longest fjords to the tallest mountains, honouring everything Norwegian.
The Constitution Day is the best day of the year.
From eight in the morning to nine in the evening the Norwegian flag is waving on poles from the longest fjords to the tallest mountains, honouring everything Norwegian.

A Sign of Belonging

There are few things we Norwegians are more proud of than where we are from, and one of the proudest signs of our heritage is the bunad, the Norwegian traditional folk suit. From the smallest fjords in the north to the highlands in the west to the big cities in the east every area has its own bunad design. It is estimated to be over 2,5 million bunads around the country, with an estimated value of over 30 billion Norwegian kroner. We have posted a story about the bunad which you can read here.

The Norwegian Sámis celebrate this day by wearing their gáktis, the national costume of Norway’s indigenous people. Alongside the bunad, the gákti is a sign of heritage and pride. Read more about the gákti in our blog post about the Sámi’s Prideful Clothing.

The Norwegian Constitution Day is celebrated nation-wide.

Ice Cream Day

For many Norwegians, especially the young ones, this day is associated with ice cream. Averaging on around 30 million freezing cold ice creams consumed in a single day, the consumption equals six ice creams per Norwegian. This is five times the amount sold on even the hottest summer days. The phenomenon has even gotten its own saying referring to the ice cream demand.

“It sells like ice cream on the 17th of May.”

Norwegian saying

Bringing the Celebrations to You

As not everyone can be in Norway on this momentous day, we decided to bring the celebrations to you, wherever you may be. On May 8th we launch our own webshop, and we release our 17th of May limited edition bottle, which will be on sale during all of May. Same delicious content, with a festive wrapping. Order yours from our website on Friday, May 8th, and join in on the celebrations.

Interested in Scandinavian traditions and culture? Here at Nuet, we publish weekly blog posts about everything Scandinavian. Read other interesting stories at nuetaquavit.com/stories, and follow our Instagram @nuetaquavit to get instant updates on new blog posts, straight to your feed.