Like every year, Belgrade is due to celebrate the Norwegian Constitutional Day in big style — with cheerful music, dancing, singing and a parade in traditional costumes called "bunad".
On May 17, 1814, the Norwegian Constitution was signed at Eidsvoll opening doors to Norway’s independence from 400-year-long Danish autocracy and laying a strong foundation for the country’s democratic development. The Constitution is the world’s second oldest in the world still in effect. That alone says a lot about the men at Eidsvoll's capability to look ahead of their own time. Ever since, the 17th of May has been celebrated with colourful processions of children with their banners, flags, bands and numerous other events taking place all around the country, from cities to the smallest village or hamlet.
“With little more sun, colour and rhythm we want Norwegians and the friends of Norway to feel that they are among friends from the southern parts of Europe,” said Dragan Markovic, secretary general at the Norwegian Association in Serbia.
According to Markovic, who is also head of the organising committee, this year’s celebration will start at 11:45 at Kalemegdan, Belgrade’s fortress, which is the most important historical monument in the city. The programme will include a promenade in national costumes called bunad in the city centre, a rich cultural programme with musicians and it will end up with lunch at 2pm. There is a special programme for children that comprises face painting, creative workshops and playing with entertainers and clowns.
All Norwegians and friends of Norway are invited to the celebration. “We are expecting a beautiful day on the streets of Belgrade, a lot of guests and friends, children's joy and laughter, and optimism of the adults,” Markovic said.
So put your smile on and join the festivities in the name of Norway.