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New York City (NYC)
Norwegian Day Parade

 
 
Norwegian Day Parade
 
     
 
Update:
The 2014 Parade will be held on Saturday, May 18th.
Click here for more details.

 
     
 

The annual Norwegian Day Parade is held in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn on the Sunday closest to May 17-the Constitution Day of Norway. On that day in 1814, the Norwegian Constitution - the second oldest democratic constitution in the world continually in force since its creation – was signed. This document was greatly inspired by the constitutions of France and the United States and established Norway as a country in its own rights, independent from Swedish crown.

The Norwegian Parade marches from 89th Street along Fifth Avenue, rain or shine, to the grandstand of Leif Ericson Park on 67th Street, where the Viking Fest ceremonies are held. Around 10,000 participants march before a crowd of over 100,000 spectators. It is an opportunity for people to celebrate their Norwegian heritage and get together with friends and family. Even people who previously lived in Bay Ridge or Brooklyn, come back for the parade in order to see old friends and the neighborhood. The parade is usually led by a guest band from Norway, followed by a number of local bands, wearing traditional costumes and playing Norwegian music. Of course, a number of Viking longboat floats with dragon heads, representing the great sea serpent Jörmungandr, are not to be left out of the picture.

The parade was much bigger back in the 1950s, when nearly 60,000 Norwegians and many other Scandinavians lived and worked in the neighborhood. Crowds would line up on Eighth Avenue and Fort Hamilton Parkway – the old route - to watch the Parade. New York State Governors and other politicians were regular attendees; even the Norwegian monarchy has made an appearance in previous years.

There was a time when Norwegian was among the most frequently heard foreign languages in Bay Ridge. Eighth Avenue was formerly the main street of “Little Norway” and was colloquially called Lapskaus Boulevard after a traditional stew. More recently, the parade is a much smaller affair on Fifth Avenue, as many Scandinavians have moved to Staten Island, New Jersey, Long Island and communities further away.However, for those attending, it continues to be a great cultural experience.

 
     
 

Sources:
May17ParadeNY.com
BrooklynEagle.com

BrooklynPaper.com

 
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