May 17, 2013 - Constitution Day in Norway

Norway, to Sweden: We're independent of you!

Sweden, to Norway: No, you're not!

That's basically what was happening in Scandinavia during the year 1814. You see, Norway had been in political union with Denmark for hundreds of years, but Denmark-Norway was on the losing side during the Napoleonic Wars. Norway was “taken away from” Denmark and “given to” Sweden, in January of 1814.

Norwegians probably resented being traded like possessions, and soon they decided to pull away from everyone else and stand alone, just Norway. Some Norwegians wrote a constitution and, on this date in 1814, they waved their completed constitution to the world and declared Norway independent.

Apparently, the Swedish king was not happy with that. He ordered an attack on Norway. By August of 1814, it was obvious that neither side could decisively win. Norway kept its constitution and most of its governmental institutions, but the Norwegian Parliament “elected” the Swedish king as ruler of Norway. With this compromise, Norway and Sweden formed a union for almost a century.

In 1905, Norway completed a peaceful process of becoming fully independent of Sweden.

Norway is known for its natural
beauty. This particular fjord,
glacier, and waterfall are just
tiny samples of all the splendors
of the Scandinavian nation!

...Now, what about that holiday?

Many patriotic Norwegians celebrated the anniversary of the adoption of their constitution in 1814, but for some years the King of Sweden and Norway tried to discourage or even forbid these celebrations. By 1833, however, Norwegians become more bold about the celebration, and by 1864, they were establishing traditions such as a children's parade. The celebrations are different than many nations' patriotic celebrations, because the Norwegians' holiday parades are very non-military in nature. Even after World War II ended in Norway, by coincidence, just a few days before the Constitution Day of 1945, the parades are made up of children with flags and homemade banners, and school marching bands, rather than armies and tanks. As the various parades wind through their various communities, the children often make stops to visit senior citizens, say, or honor a war memorial. The parade in Oslo passes by the Royal Palace, and the royal family greets their people from the balcony.
Learn more about Norway...

You can find coloring pages, a puzzle, recipes, fun facts, and stories about Norway at A to Z Kids Stuff

Plan Ahead...
Check out my Pinterest boards of May holidays, historical events in May, and May birthdays.

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