The constitution which is honored this day was signed at Eidsvoll in 1814. Norway at least on paper was now an independent nation. The King of Sweden did not like the celebrations that grew out of the signing of the constitution, and Karl Johan , in the 1820's put an end to it for a while. After the Battle of the Square in 1829, the King changed his mind. In 1833 it was officially celebrated for the first time. Though the King of Sweden did send out a spy to see what was really going on !
In 1864, the first children's parade was established in Christiana. Due to the prejudices of those times, only boys were allowed to march in the parade. It wasn't until 1899 that girls were allowed to join in and march as well. Norway finally became fully independent in the year 1905.
The aspect of this celebration I love the most is that it is almost totally civilian in nature and participation. There is no real military presence at all. Just children of all ages carrying banners and Norwegian flags; walking in traditional clothes down the streets of Norway with great pride for their wonderful nation. And it is a wonderful nation ! The parade in Oslo is shown on television and ends at the Royal Palace, where the King and Queen of Norway greet the marchers. I have seen both still photos and video of these parades, and it is a very beautiful sight to see hundreds of Norwegian flags being held aloft proudly by the youth, and future, of this honorable, and humble, nation.
If I ever win the lottery I would love to go to the city that gave my family our name, ( Hansen was our patronymic name but we came from Bergen, Norway so that is the name that stuck), and watch this stirring and beautifully moving event. I raise my horn to my ancestors who came from the great nation of Norway, and of course to all the great people who live there still, " Gratulerer med Syttende Mai !" Skal !!! May the Gods and Goddesses of both Asgard and Vanaheim now and forever bless the great people of Norway !!!
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love and Thor's protection !