The Norwegian constitution was signed on May 17th in 1814, and it is safe to say that more than 200 years have not put a damper on how the Norwegians celebrate. There are no military parades, but colourful processions of marching bands and children carrying flags and banners.
Take part in the biggest party in Norway
There are only 2100 inhabitants in Longyearbyen, but their enthusiasm will make you think there are thousands more. Almost everybody takes part in the procession - and you are welcome to join, too. Like the town and the people, MS Fram will be all dressed up with banners, and there will be flags for everybody who wants to participate. Ice cream, food, cakes and drinks are also a big part of the festivities.
"Bunad" – the Norwegian folk costume
Another element that makes this day truly unique is all the beautiful bunads the Norwegians wear on the day. There are more then 100 different bunads and the designs are typically elaborate, with embroidery, scarves, shawls and hand-made silver or gold jewelry, indicating where in Norway the wearer's ancestry lies. The various bunads have been designed through different means. Some of them are based on old local customs; other models are constructions made in the 20th century, relying on local and historical material. While the contemporary bunad tradition has most of its roots in folk costumes from the 18th and 19th centuries, records documenting the use of folk costumes go as far back as the Middle Ages. The names of these traditional bunads are based on their geographic origin, and traditionally, people choose their bunad based on their own or their ancestors' origin.