Suburban Norwegian-Americans celebrate Norway's Constitution Day; Park Ridge banquet, parade May 15-16

  • St. Charles resident Nancy Andersen, right, chronicles Norway Constitution Day history at an outdoor meeting of Sons of Norway Polar Star Lodge 5-472 on May 2, at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Montgomery.

    St. Charles resident Nancy Andersen, right, chronicles Norway Constitution Day history at an outdoor meeting of Sons of Norway Polar Star Lodge 5-472 on May 2, at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Montgomery. Courtesy of Al Benson

 
 
Updated 5/12/2021 11:54 AM

Fox Valley Norwegian-Americans held an early Norwegian Constitution Day celebration Sunday, May 2.

St. Charles resident Nancy Andersen chronicled "Syttende Mai" (Seventeenth May) at an outdoor luncheon meeting of Sons of Norway Polar Star Lodge 5-472 at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Montgomery.

 

According to Andersen, several Polar Star members plan to attend an annual banquet and parade in Park Ridge May 15-16.

Similar to July 4, Constitution Day is the national day of Norway and is observed May 17. The constitution of Norway was signed at Eidsvoll on May 17, 1814. The constitution declared Norway to be an independent kingdom to avoid being ceded to Sweden after Denmark and Norway's devastating defeat in the Napoleonic wars.

Kids in Norway are especially important to the celebration of "Syttende Mai." It is common to see children's parades all over the country, from the biggest cities like Oslo and Bergen, to small towns that dot the landscape.

These parades are marked with the waving of Norwegian flags, wearing a traditional costume called a bunad, singing the national anthem and carrying school banners. Marching bands accompany the children as well, making these parades quite a fun and exciting experience for all!

Food plays a big part in the way Norwegians celebrate the day. While traditional food is always available and happily eaten, things like hot dogs, soda and ice cream are more common on this day compared to other holidays.

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Norwegian National League of Chicago will sponsor a two-day "Syttende Mai" celebration May 15-16 in Park Ridge.

An annual dinner will be held Saturday, May 15, at Park Ridge Country Club, 636 N. Prospect Ave. in Park Ridge. After a 5 p.m. social hour, a banquet will be held at 6 p.m. Masks are required. Susan Meyer, honorary Norwegian consul general for Chicago, will speak.

A parade at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 16, will step off at Talcott and Cumberland. Susan Meyer, honorary Norwegian consul general for Chicago, will bring greetings at an after-parade program in Hodges Park near city hall and Norwegian National League scholarship winners will be announced.

The league is offering a $1,000 scholarship and cash prizes of $100, $50 and $25 to deserving students of Norwegian heritage residing in Cook, Lake, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, McHenry and Will counties.

Call (847) 924-5928 or visit nnleague.org for more information.

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