Gratulerer med dagen, Norge!

With all the end-of-semester madness, I completely forgot to post about the Norwegian Constitution Day — May 17th! It’s unlike any other holiday I’ve ever seen, and in the best way possible.

According to my friends, this holiday celebrates the signing of the Norwegian Constitution in 1814. To celebrate, the day usually starts with a champagne breakfast and lots of good food.

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Our breakfast spread, complete with Norwegian flag napkins

I tried a Norwegian specialty called brown cheese (brunost) for the first time! We had it with bread and strawberry jam — it was a bit sweet, and reminded me of cream cheese, so I was definitely a fan.

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Yum

Next, we went downtown to the city center to watch the parade. We were a bit early, so we listened to a live band playing in the square next to the Cathedral.

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The parade itself is both fun to watch and participate in. There was a special section for students of the University of Stavanger, so we stood with them and marched for a bit and then wandered off to find ice cream (my favorite Constitution Day tradition). Other typical Constitution Day foods include hot dogs and waffles, but we were too full from breakfast to tackle all three.

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So many people!

However, my favorite part of May 17th is the dressing up. For those of us who don’t own traditional clothing, we put on our best dresses and suits (with tie) and try to look formal for the entire day. The people who do own traditional clothing (which is quite expensive) look incredible. My friends explained that by looking at the style of each person’s bunad, the traditional embroidered dress, you can tell where they are from.

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A few women wearing bunads from this blog

The end of the day is generally celebrated with grilling, depending on how much ice cream you had during the day, and hanging out with friends into the night.

This is one of my new favorite holidays! Dressing up, delicious food, parades, flag waving, and ice cream — what more does anyone need?

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