‘Gratulerer med dagen!’

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PICTURE SERIES: That’s the standard greeting on the 17th of May in Norway, when residents congratulate each other over the country’s constitution and its sovereignty. This year’s festivities took place mostly in surprisingly summer-like conditions, with some cities like Trondheim reporting record warm temperatures of as high as 25C (77F). In Oslo, skies were overcast and the parade was drenched in a sudden downpour just before it ended. That didn’t dampen spirits though, as the day proceeded from early-morning memorials to public drunkenness later in the afternoon and evening. View our photos here:

  1. Photo-taking, bunads and ice cream were in focus here in front of the Royal Palace in Oslo on Friday, as thousands turned out for the annual 17th of May parade and celebrations. Bunad-clad folks willingly posed for one another while waiting for the royals to appear on the balcony in the background.
  2. Earlier in the day, ever-partying high school students called "russ" shouted greetings from their perch atop the peace monument on Oslo's western waterfront.
  3. The 17th of May gets off to a somber and early start with memorials such as this one at the Akershus Fortress and Castle in Oslo, where resistance fighters were executed during World War II.
  4. School classes started gathering on the plaza in front of City Hall well before their 17th of May parade started.
  5. These girls were from Smestad School on Oslo's west side, which boasted a high turnout for the parade.
  6. A farmers' organization helped organize, as usual, a group of folk dancers who took part in the 17th of May parade. The musicians' wagon was led by these classic, blond Norwegian horses.
  7. Differences between dress and ethnicity aren't important on the 17th of May.
  8. These women contended with a real balancing act as they tried to get a higher and better viewing spot for the parade. In the background, Norway's National Theater.
  9. This family perched on a ledge at the downtown university campus.
  10. Modern mobile phones mixed with traditional and historic dress as folks waited for the parade to begin and the king to appear on the palace balcony.
  11. More mobile and ethnic mixture on the 17th of May in Oslo.
  12. Mobile phone and camera use begins at an early age in Norway.
  13. Taking part in the "barnetoget" (children's parade).
  14. Ice cream wasn't reserved only for the young during 17th of May celebrations on the grounds of the Royal Palace in Oslo.
  15. Partying high school graduates known as "russ."
  16. This woman used the 17th of May as an opportunity to make a personal appeal to King Harald. Such political expressions are generally frowned upon during Constitution Day celebrations.
  17. The royal family waved patiently from the balcony of the palace for around three hours.
  18. A typical lunch on the run on the 17th of May: "pølse" (sausages) in a potato-based wrapping known as "lømpe," with the ubiquitous Coke.
  19. The regional costumes known as the "bunad" were on parade all day long.
  20. Happy faces along the parade route - including that of this little boy, who just spotted someone he knew well among the spectators.
  21. Not everyone was happy, especially at the end of the long parade. This little girl had clearly had enough of Constitution Day celebrations.
  22. Private parties flourish all over the country on the 17th of May, like this one on a balcony in Oslo's Vika district.
  23. This downtown neighbourhood received a visit from the popular brass band known as "Kampen Janitsjar." Note the "Hurra" spelled out on their instruments, which provided a rousing concert before they marched on.
  24. Police in dress uniform got busier in the afternoon, as the morning memorials and parade degenerated into drunken partying. These young officers had their hands full controlling crowds at a huge and expensive outdoor party at Oslo's Solli Plass.
  25. Security guards also had to help control drunken revelers who lined up to get into this fenced-in outdoor gathering in Oslo. Admittance can cost thousands of Norwegian kroner (equivalent to hundreds of US dollars).

(Hover your mouse over the photos to see captions.)

ALL PHOTOS: newsinenglish.no