July 22nd, 2024

Sons of Norway celebrate Constitution Day at City Hall

By Nicholas Allen on May 18, 2022.

Herald photo by Nicholas Allen The Sons of Norway along with Mayor Blaine Hyggen celebrate the Norwegian holiday Constitution Day (Syttende Mai) as they watch the raising of Norway's flag at City Hall on May 17.

Local Norwegian heritage group Sons of Norway celebrated Norway’s Constitution Day with the raising of a flag at Lethbridge City Hall on Tuesday.
Members of the group gathered to celebrate Constitution Day or, as it’s known amongst Norwegians, Syttende Mai.
Sons of Norway treasurer Arnold Follinglo was there to speak about the importance of the holiday and to give some background to the event and how Norway became independent. He said the constitution was adopted by members of the National Assembly on May 17, 1814.
“Numerous constitutions were passed in Europe during the Napoleonic Wars, but only Norway’s is still in existence,” said Follinglo. “It is the second oldest Constitution in the world, second only to the USA.”
He said that by July 1814, Sweden invaded Norway and defeated the defenders, resulting in Norway entering a union with Sweden.
“However, Norway was able to remain a sovereign state with its own constitution,” said Follinglo.
He said the union between Norway and Sweden was dissolved on June 7, 1905, although it took Sweden until October 26 of that year to formally recognize Norway’s independence and renounce any claims to the Norwegian throne.
“Today in Norway there will be many parades, primarily children’s parades, to celebrate May 17. Flags are flying and everyone is dressed up, ready for a birthday party,” said Follinglo. “Tables are loaded with cakes and other baking. Children are feasting on hot dogs and ice cream.”
Follinglo said that as descendants of Norwegian settlers to Lethbridge and southern Alberta, they are proud to celebrate their Norwegian heritage with the flag raising.
“Thank you to the RCMP veterans for providing the honour guard, including our own member Moe Larson,” said Follinglo.
He also thanked Mayor Blaine Hyggen for attending and sharing a few words before the flag raising. Hyggen said he was proud of his own Norwegian heritage and what events like this mean for the community.
“We look at our community and how culturally diverse it is and just being able to raise this Norwegian flag today just speaks exactly to how culturally diverse we are here in Lethbridge,” said Hyggen.
According to Follinglo, the Sons of Norway lodge has been doing the flag raising for close to 30 years.
“We’ve had great cooperation from the city with respect to the flag raising, even though there might have been some delays there during the COVID period. But even last year we were able to have the flag raising here,” said Follinglo.
He said the biggest benefit to the group is primarily the culture and cultural events of keeping in tune with what has happened in the past in Norway along with what is happening currently.
“We hosted the Summer Games here about four years ago and from some of the proceeds from that, we made the donation of the 18 trees to Legacy Park, and there’s a bench there with a small plaque on it,” said Follinglo.
He said there is also a plaque at the entrance to the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden that talks about Sons of Norway in Lethbridge.
For more information on the Sons of Norway in Lethbridge visit lethbridgesonsofnorway.ca.

Share this story:

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments