Norway’s 17 May Celebration in Bangkok

The Norwegians value their National Day so much that they celebrate it not only within Norway, but in foreign cities throughout the world, including Bangkok. In Bangkok, the Norwegian National Day, formally referred to as Norwegian Constitution Day,  was celebrated at the Royal Norwegian Embassy with more than 150 attendees.

After a welcoming speech given by Ms. Thitikul Opdal, Chairman of the 17th of May Committee, there was a parade led by a band playing among other the Norwegian National Hymn that most of the participants could sing along. Children and adults paraded while waving Norwegian flags in the area of Sukhumvit Soi 38. The parade stopped by an International Kindergarden located right across from the Royal Embassy. The children at the Kindergarten happily waved their flags to congratulate the Norwegians on their special day.

During the celebration in the garden of the Ambassador, speakers shared some of their most-valued words and philosophies around the traditional day. Keynote speaker was H.E. Ambassador Katja Nordgaard followed by younger speakers Elida Nordgaard Unneberg and Maya Haldorsen.

In her speech, the Ambassador highlighted the horrific killings that took place in Norway on 22nd of July last year.

“We are still traumatized by these horrendous deeds. Of course, no political or other conviction can justify these acts of terror. They must be condemned and the society must treat them like the terrible crimes they are,” Ms. Katja Nordgaard said.

Ms. Katja Nordgaard then looked back at the history of Norway.

“In 1814 we – the Norwegians – were almost 2 million people. That number went down over the next hundred years due to massive emigration to places with a promise of a better life, while Norway remained one of the poorest countries in Europe,” she said.

“Today there are five millions of us. And we are becoming a more colourful and multi¬cultural society. More than half a million of us, or 10 per cent of the population, have immigrant backgrounds. One big group is of course the Thais, more than thirteen thousand!”

At the end of her speech Ms. Nordgaard concluded by reading the congratulatory telegram from H.M. King Harald.

Due to heavy rain, there were unfortunately no games for the children, instead all children received a medal and they could continue celebrating with their families. The rain kept pouring down throughout the celebration but it could not stop both children and adults from enjoying traditional food like salmon and hot dogs.

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