Over 700 Gathered for a Traditional 17th May in Singapore

The constitution day, 17th May, was celebrated by Norwegians around the world and Singapore was no exception. Over 700 Norwegians and invited guests gathered in Fort Canning Park for a traditional Norwegian celebration of the day.

As is tradition in Norway, the event started with the marching band leading a parade of school children from the Norwegian Supplementary School in Singapore waving Norwegian flags.  This year, a group of students and a teacher from local Singaporean school Fairfield Methodist (Secondary) School were invited to join the celebration.   Fairfield has been twinned with Gausdal Secondary School in Norway and will be hosting the Norway booth during the Youth Olympic Games. 

For the students from Fairfield, this was an opportunity to learn first hand about Norwegian culture.  Alexander from Fairfield observed that “[t]he atmosphere was decidedly Norwegian, even in the blistering heat of Singapore weather. I think it was interesting that people from different parts of Norway wear different types of costumes and how differently their school systems operate from us, such as dress code and school terms.”  The students from Fairfield quickly made friends with the Norwegian students and got a chance to ask lots of questions about Norway.  Sarah also enjoyed the aftenoon and “thought it was a really good experience, joining in the march and trying out the sack race. As a Singaporean, getting a chance like this is really precious as it really isn’t cheap to fly over to Norway to experience their culture first hand.”

Once the parade reached the flagstaff by Raffles House, there were speeches by the 17th May committee and greetings from the King were conveyed by Ambassador Janne Julsrud followed by the national anthem.  Marques had been erected in the park for a buffet dinner and there was also the more traditional hot dogs and ice cream on offer.  The 17th May is primarily a day for the children and there were plenty of events and activities planned for them, from bouncy castles and egg and spoon races to a magic show for the youngest.

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