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May 17th is Norway's Constitution Day!

On May 17th each year, Norwegians celebrate the establishment of their country's constitution in 1814.  That document was based heavily on previous documents written a few decades earlier by politicians in what eventually became The United States of America and in France following The French Revolution.  Liberty, egalitarianism, and fraternity in other words.  

While Norway remained in a sort of union with Sweden until 1905, it marks its independence from several centuries of Danish political, social, and cultural dominion each May 17th.  It is worth pointing out that much of this was part of a reshuffling of the European map at about the same time as the first abdication of Napoleon in 1814 before he returned briefly for The Hundred Days in 1815, which ended during the Waterloo Campaign in June of that year.

But back to Norway.  As you might expect, there are parades of various sizes all over the country, prominent displays of the flag, and considerable "celebration" lasting into the wee hours of the following morning with pounding headaches later.  It is a viking nation after all, something many Norwegians remain very proud of.  As part of May 17th observance, most people, in addition, still dress up as a sign of respect for the day, the significant occasion it marks, and simply because that is what you do for special events.  

While many women wear traditional folk dress specific to the region(s) from which they or their ancestors came, many men wear suits, pressed shirts, neckties, and dress shoes.  Likewise, children and young people are also dressed well, a habit that an awful lot of parents in the United States, by contrast, seem to neglect in 2018 (Um, pajamas in church anyone?).  

Otherwise, things are pretty casual in most facets of daily life in Norway though I'd wager that Norwegians, by and large, look reasonably pulled together, if not stylish most of the time though not, perhaps, to quite the same degree as Swedes, Italians, or the French.  In any case, you'll also see some Norwegian men dressed in creased pants, dress shoes, pressed shirts, and neckties for Constitution Day celebrations but with very fancy cardigans or pull-over sweaters in lieu of suit coats, or sports jackets although this can be slightly uncomfortable if it is a warm, sunny day.

As for yours truly today, it's sunny and warm here in Mid-Michigan this morning, the spring semester is now well and truly over, and I have downshifted into summer gear: old comfy Sperry docksiders, faded, old soft green chino shorts with an olive surcingle belt, and an old but pressed blue, green, and red short-sleeve cotton Madras sport shirt. Perfect for some quick pruning of old growth in the flower beds around the house before the emerging perennials grow too much taller.  Yet I can go about the day, meet the Young Master's school bus this afternoon, and drive him to and from his regular Thursday afternoon appointment without embarrassing either of us due to a sloppy, slovenly appearance.  

As I have mentioned so often before here at Classic Style, it is entirely possible to dress in a very relaxed, comfortable way without taking a lot of time, spending a lot of money,  or in any way resembling the corner methamphetamine dealer.

-- Heinz-Ulrich


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