Constitution Day around the world in 2025

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Constitution Day
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2025 NorwayMay 17
Norway Sat, May 17National Holiday
2024 NorwayMay 17
Norway Fri, May 17National Holiday
2023 NorwayMay 17
Norway Wed, May 17National Holiday
2022 NorwayMay 17
Norway Tue, May 17National Holiday
2021 NorwayMay 17
Norway Mon, May 17National Holiday

Norway's National Day marks the adoption of the Constitution which declared the country as a kingdom independent of Sweden on May 17th 1814.

When is Constitution Day in Norway?

The Norwegian Constitution Day is the National Day of Norway and is an official national holiday each year on May 17th.

Among Norwegians, the day is referred to as 'Syttende Mai' (simply meaning May Seventeenth), Nasjonaldagen (National Day) or less commonly, Grunnlovsdagen (Constitution Day).

History of Constitution Day in Norway

Following the Napoleonic Wars, Norway's Constitution, which declared the country as a kingdom independent of Sweden was signed at what is now widely considered one of Norway’s most symbolic markers of national pride, the Eidsvoll Manor House, officially beginning its path to total independence.

The constitution was based on American and French models, and elected the Crown Prince of Denmark and Norway, Christian Frederick, as the king.

While full independence was not achieved until June 7th 1905, May 17th remains Norway's National Day.

Celebrating the day was banned between 1820 and 1829 at the order of King Karl Johan of Sweden, while the two nations were united.

Celebrating the day gained popularity in 1833 when the writer Henrik Wergeland gave a public speech on Constitution Day honouring Norwegian heritage at the memorial service of the opposition minister Christian Krohg, who had died five years earlier.

The Norwegian parliament held the first May 17th celebration in 1836, and since then on May 17th has been regarded as the national day.

Constitution Day is often kicked off by many Norwegians with a traditional 17. Mai breakfast of smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, and a fresh loaf of bread, accompanied by a glass of champagne. Breakfast is just the start of the spring holiday that many view as a time to indulge in guilty food pleasures, especially ice cream and hot dogs.

The national pastry for May 17th is pavlova, a cake filled with cream and fruit made from a meringue mass.

The May 17th celebrations vary across Norway, but they all follow a traditional pattern that makes this a day centred on the children.

The highlights are the children’s processions, made up of school classes marching through the local community, led by the school band. Most children have their own small Norwegian flag to wave, and the route is lined with enthusiastic onlookers.

After the procession, there are games, entertainments and film shows, and plenty of hot dogs and ice cream.

Constitution Day’s association with children began in 1864 when author Bjornstjerne Bjornson, who wrote Norway's national anthem, suggested staging a parade just for primary school pupils, representing Norway’s bright future.

The first children’s processions were duly arranged in 1870. Since 1906, the Royal Family have gathered on the balcony of the Royal Palace in Oslo to wave to the children marching by.

Gratulerer med dagen, Norge!

Change your Hue lights to celebrate Syttende Mai!

Did you know?

Three facts about Constitution Day

Norway is the most successful nation in the world at the Winter Olympics and it is one of just three countries (the other two being Austria and Liechtenstein) who have won more medals at the Winter Games than at the Summer Games.

Norwegians are said to spend more time reading than any other nation. At Easter, there is a tradition to read crime thrillers.

Oslo is the third most northerly capital city of an independent country, with only Reykjavik, Iceland, and Helsinki, Finland being closer to the North Pole.

More facts about Constitution Day

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