An introduction to May

Every Norwegian is looking forward to May. The most brilliant, spectacular and pleasing month of the entire year in Norway. As well as being the time of year when the "russ" party in the streets, the long cold, dark winter melts to warm, light summer, the flowers bloom and more skin is revealed for every day that passes, May is also the time you truly celebrate that you are a Norwegian.

Oh yes, you might say, May might be special, but the Norwegians indeed celebrate their Norwegian-ness everyday! Well that might not be entirely a lie, because we are indeed proud about being Norwegians, but May IS very special, very VERY special.

I might not have mentioned it, but what Norwegians enjoy more than to eat disgusting fish, talk about the weather, ski, brag about skiing, eat matpakke, brag about eating matpakke when skiing or brag about eating fish as their matpakke when skiing and talking about the weather, Norwegians love, absolutely adore, to beat the swedes.

And I'm serious. This isn't just some comradely jibe between neighbours, no, no, this is a bloody war I say. For every Olympic medal won over the Swedes, the trumpets salute an entire octave higher, because what that really means the most to us, is bragging about beating the Swedes.

Much like, dare I say, the way the Brits love to take the piss out of French people (now who doesn't love to do that, but I beg to differ and say that the Brits perhaps enjoy it a tad more).

And that's also a reason why May is so special. Because, on May 17th 1814 the Norwegians signed their own constitution and thereby freed themselves from the Swedes after being under their command for 434 years. The constitution wasn't just a clear liberation from the claws of evil Danes/Swedes, but also a riot against the Kiel agreement of the greater powers in Europe. Created January 15th the same year. That said that Norway should be given from Denmark to Sweden as loot from the war. The Norwegians didn't accept this and created a constitution. In the very first paragraph of our newly obtained constitution there was a declaration of independence. Obviously Norway didn't manage to break free until 1905(!), but by getting our own constitution Norway as a whole was gifted with a new, genuine spirit.

And so, because of May 17th - We were free! After hundreds of years hopping from Denmark to Sweden, we were no longer theirs to juggle with. We were free! We didn't just get independent, we beat the swedes too! Like a flippin bonus, if you know what I mean.

So every May 17th, no matter weather or stomach disorders, every Norwegian puts on their best suits and dresses (preferably a national costume (bunad)) We grab our flags and walk in long parades across the country.

And I don't believe anyone, not a single person but a Norwegian, could understand exactly how much May means to a Norwegian, because I know, and I'm going very nationalistic here: Complain about being a Norwegian, and living in "Snoreway" (which is true, cos nothing ever happens) but I really am, from the bottom of my toes to the top of my head, proud of being Norwegian.

(all pix taken by me on my trip to the mountains a few summers ago)


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