This picture is taken on the 17th of May 2016 in the city center of Stavanger. The 17th of May is the date Norway celebrates its constitution, and it’s one of the days when all public buildings and other places with a flagpole will put up the Norwegian flag.
It’s not common in Norway to hoist the flag every day. We have a set of days where one must hoist the flag (i.e. 17th of May, the birthdays of the royal family, some Christian holidays, and other days of historic importance for Norway – Wikipedia list), and otherwise it’s a bit more optional if you have a personal reason to put a flag up on the flagpole.
17th of May is always the day when you’ll find the most Norwegian flags around in the city. We’ll walk in parades and wave our flags, or watch others walk in a parade, and wave our flags at them. It’s a day we express our joy of the nation, the joy of being part of something bigger, and the joy of celebrating something together with family, friends, and total strangers that you’ll say hi or congratulations to at some point of the day.
The rest of the year, we’re mostly not that nationalistic. We’re not that celebratory. We won’t put our flag up for no reason. We know that as a nation and a people there is more to do to make the country a home for the people who live here, and the people who come to live here. We’ll criticise the government, and we’ll vote at the elections to earn the right to criticise it.
But every year on the 17th of May, without fail, we’ll put up our flags, sing our national anthem, and mostly criticise the weather or the woolen bunad-costumes we wear (that are heavy, and doesn’t really flatter anyone, yet looks good on pretty much everyone).
This post mainly comes from all the stuff that’s been going on lately, and me thinking about how flags are treated differently around the world. I’ll leave you with one last fun fact about the Norwegian flag: When the flag is getting worn or broken, one is to separate the flag into the different colored pieces, so it’s no longer recognizable as the Norwegian flag, and dispose of it or burn it.