May 17 Norway’s National Day

///May 17 Norway’s National Day

May 17 Norway’s National Day

Children are the focal point of Constitution Day on May 17 each year, founded to celebrate the creation of the Constitution of Norway.

May 17 Norway's National DayIn preparation, parents sew traditional folk costumes called bunad — pronounced boo-ned. Each large fjord or valley has a distinctive style and the design and colors vary according to locality.

Ineke’s is an elaborately embroidered full-length skirt, a long-sleeve white blouse, a matching embroidered jacket and new shoes adorned with silver buckles. The pewter collar brooch and pewter belt buckle were adornments on the bunad her mother wore as a child.

Ineke’s great grandmother sewed the embroidered waist purse by hand. The floral embroidery on the her new folk costume matches the traditional family pattern on the purse.

All over Norway, children’s parades are formed by the elementary school teachers. Hundreds of Norwegian flags flutter in the brisk ocean breezes. Marching bands lead the procession of children through the community, often making stops at homes of senior citizens or historical points of interest. As the parade passes, bystanders join in behind the children, carrying more flags, and follow the parade back to the school.

Back at the school, there are games for the children, and often lots of ice cream, sweets and pølse, Norwegian sausages on buns covered with mustard.

May 17 Norway's National DayNels and Ineke walked hand in hand every year.

Excerpt from novel: Nazi’s try to prevent the parade

“Wearing their best bunad, and with Norwegian flags waiving brightly in the midday sun, the children turn bravely from a side street onto Kongens Gate, the main street through Narvik.  Julia, Sigrid and all the other teachers are at the head of the parade, not at the rear, as is the custom.  The teachers have resisted everything the Nazis try to impose on the schools and they intend to resist today as well.

“Armed German troops have formed a line blocking the parade route. Marching bands stir the crowds as the soldiers wait for the marchers.  Approaching the German line, Julia takes Sigrid’s hand and squeezes it tightly. She raises their clenched hands in defiance and pushes the soldiers out of their way without stopping.

“Hault!” the German commander yelled holding up his pistol. Again, “Hault.” No one stopped. The commander tried again in Norwegian, “Slutte. Slutte.”

“Nels put Ineke behind him to protect her. I will kill you if you touch her.

“Approaching the German line, Nels’s mother looked back at the nervous children, and their parents along the street, as if to say don’t worry. She took Sigrid’s hand and raised their clenched fists in defiance, pushing their way past the soldiers without stopping. The Germans did nothing.

“Nels’s stomach fluttered with delight. He was proud to be a Norwegian and, for a moment, felt fearless in the presence of the troops.

“The teachers lead the defiant procession through town and back to school, where the residents gathered around them cheering and shouting, “Skol! Skol!”

Add a trip to Narvik to your Bucket List

Q: If you live in an igloo made of snow, what’s the worst thing about global warming?

A: No privacy!

Print pagePDF pageEmail page
By |2017-11-04T11:37:31+00:00May 14th, 2016|Books, Ineke's Mitten|3 Comments

About the Author:

Author, photographer and content strategist at SHOW&TELL.


  1. Tom Beneze May 14, 2016 at 8:11 am - Reply

    Your teases for the book are captivating. When will the movie come out??

  2. Sean Rosemeyer May 14, 2016 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    An amazing image of the Constitution Day parade in Narvik – you can feel their pride and happiness in participating. To see this really brings alive what happens in the novel when the teachers defy the Nazi’s….and this colorful, patriotic crowd marches on. The courage to carry on in face of German oppression is palpable in the novel. You can also get a bit of glimpse of perhaps what the beautiful Ineke looks like and how much she is loved by Nels.
    And then there’s the mitten with the same design as the bunad…..

  3. Hosting April 27, 2017 at 2:50 am - Reply

    While many countries celebrate their national day with a military parade, the 17th of May is more of a party for everyone, and especially the children. Before you head out in the streets, many will have a 17th of May breakfast often a potluck with friends and neighbours with freshly baked bread, scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, and for the grown-ups, champagne.

Leave A Comment