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Celebrating National Day

Celebrating National Day

Ah, but to be Norwegian, particularly on Norway's National Day, which took place the Sunday before these photos were taken.

The event, marking the day in 1814 when Norway adopted its new Constitution, is celebrated across the nation.

In Norway's capital city, the children's parade is the main attraction, with all 111 city schools represented.

I was one of the few fortunate enough to obtain special seats in front of the Royal Palace to watch as parade participants marched up Oslo's main street, Karl Johans gate, to the Royal Palace, where they were received by the Royal Family standing on the front balcony, waving to the crowd.

The weather forecast had not been good, but the day turned out to be a beautiful one, with lots of sunshine and brilliant blue skies.

The Constitution of Norway was signed at Eidsvoll on May 17 in the year 1814. The constitution declared Norway to be an independent nation.

The celebration of this day began spontaneously among students and others from early on. However, Norway was at that time under Swedish rule (following the Convention of Moss in August 1814) and for some years the King of Sweden was reluctant to allow the celebrations.

For a couple of years in the 1820s, king Carl Johan actually forbade it, as he thought the celebrations a kind of protest and disregard—even revolt—against Swedish sovereignty. The king's attitude changed slightly after the Battle of the Square in 1829, an incident which resulted in such a commotion that the King had to allow it. It was, however, not until 1833, that anyone ventured to hold a public address on behalf of the day. That year, official celebration was initiated by the monument of the late politician Christian Krogh, known to have stopped the King from gaining too much personal power. The address was held by Henrik Wergeland, thoroughly witnessed and accounted for by a Swedish spy, sent by the King himself.

After 1864, the day became more established, and the first children's promenade was launched in Christiania, in a parade consisting only of boys. This initiative was taken by Bjornstjerne Bjornson, although Wergeland made the first known children's promenade at Eidsvoll around 1820. It was only in 1899 that girls were allowed to join in the parade for the first time.

By historical coincidence, the Second World War ended in Norway just nine days before that year's Constitution Day, on May 8, 1945, when the occupying German forces surrendered. Even if The Liberation Day is an official flag day in Norway, the day is not an official holiday and is not broadly celebrated. Instead a new and broader meaning has been added to the celebration of Norwegian Constitution Day on May 17.

The day focused originally on the Norwegian constitution, but after 1905, the focus has been directed also towards the royal family.

A noteworthy aspect of the Norwegian Constitution Day is its very non-military nature. All over Norway, children's parades with an abundance of flags form the central elements of the celebration. Each elementary school district arranges its own parade with marching bands between schools.

The parade takes the children through the community, often making stops at homes of senior citizens, war memorials, etc. The longest parade is in Oslo, where some 100,000 people travel to the city center to participate in the main festivities. This is broadcast on TV every year, with comments on costumes, banners etc, together with local reports from celebrations around the country.

The massive Oslo parade includes some 100 schools, marching bands, and passes the royal palace where the royal family greet the people from the main balcony.

Typically a school’s children parade will consist of some senior school children carrying the school’s official banner, followed by a handful of other older children carrying full size Norwegian flags, and the school’s marching band. After the band the rest of the school children follow with hand sized flags, often with the junior forms first, and often behind self made banners for each form or even individual class.

Nearby kindergartens may also have been invited to join in. As the parade passes, bystanders often join in behind the official parade, and follow the parade back to the school. Depending on the community, the parade may make stops at particular sites along the route, such as a nursing home or war memorial. In Oslo the parade stops at the Royal Palace while Skaugum, the home of the crown prince, has been a traditional waypoint for parades in Asker.

During the parade a marching band will play and the children will sing lyrics about the celebration of the National Day. The parade concludes with the stationary singing of the national anthem "Ja, vi elsker dette landet" (typically verses 1, 7 and 8), and the royal anthem "Kongesangen".

In addition to flags, people typically wear red, white and blue ribbons. Although a long-standing tradition, it has lately become more po

Organized Chaos: Part I

Organized Chaos: Part I

HMXdropslash's desk. How the hell does any work get done...

Here's a partial list!
01. Community Team’s XBOX 360 Dev Kits.
02. My console monitor.
03. Starbucks Pumpkin Bread.
04. A tape gun.
05. XBOX 360 Controller.
06. Lunch! (Whole Foods Sandwich)
07. XBOX 360 MIDI Pro Adapter
09. Water.
10. My office phone.
11. Extra discs.
12. AA Batteries.
13. My wallet.
14. Canon EF 28mm f1.8 USM (One of my favorite lenses).
15. Notepad.
16. Notebook.
17. SOUP! (Whole Foods chicken noodle).
18. Keyboard (duh).
19. Sunglasses (because my future is so bright).
20. Lens caps.
21. USB Hub.
22. Dell 2005FPW Monitor
23. Cymbal Kit caps.
24. Headphones.
25. Watch
26. A headset adapter.
27. EyeToy Anti-Grav patches.
28. Train tickets.
29. Movie ticket stubs (The King’s Speech)
30. Gamescom VIP pass.
31. An owl!
32. Disc towers.
33. Dell 1708FP
34. HTC Incredible
35. Canon EF 24-105 f/1.4 L IS USM (it's only a mug. :( )

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