On 17th of May Norwegians invaded Southwark Park with flags, traditional garments, and several seafood dishes, leaving the rest of the park’s visitors puzzled and confused about what was going on.
However, it was not a sudden attempt to take over England – it was in fact just the Norwegians celebrating their constitution that was signed on 17th May in 1814 making Norway an independent nation.
As seen with USA’s 4th of July and other relatively new countries, the constitution day is very important for the Norwegians and involve many traditions.
The most noticeable one is the traditional costume bunad that almost every Norwegian wear on this day.
Agnete, a Norwegian currently living in Northern Norway, points out that there are 180 different bunads across the country since every county has its own.
Agnete explains how the children play a significant part in the celebration:
Different from other countries, we celebrate in a very special way. Where other countries go for military parades and tanks and weapons, we let the children make our parade
You can listen to the full interview below.
In Southwark the children’s parade went around the park .
Several of the participating Norwegians expressed that they were happy to be able to celebrate the day in traditional manners despite not being in Norway.