Hip, hip, hurrah!

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Norwegians celebrate National Day in Pattaya

Pattaya-area Norwegians celebrated their homeland’s national day with prayer, a parade and a party at the Seaman’s Church.

Twenty-five sponsors helped stage the May 17 celebration, which began with a traditional breakfast of smoked salmon, goat cheese, scrambled eggs and freshly baked break.

Hip, hip, hurrah!Hip, hip, hurrah!

More than 260 people turned out for the event, which continued with a short worship service lead by Rev. Jan Olav Johannessen, the singing of the Norwegian national anthem, royal song and hymns.

Pastor Jan Johannessen started the celebration by reminding everyone how lucky Norwegians are living in Thailand.  He also asked them to never forget their Christian heritage, but also accept their Thai wife’s belief in Buddha.

Pastor Jan Johannessen started the celebration by reminding everyone how lucky Norwegians are living in Thailand.Pastor Jan Johannessen started the celebration by reminding everyone how lucky Norwegians are living in Thailand.

The day’s big surprise came with the opening of a new piece of land acquired by the Magna Carta law firm for the church. The lot got its first use as a party ground with games for children, toys, ice cream, hot dogs, free t-shirts and drinks.

Norway’s constitution was signed at Eidsvoll on May 17, 1814, declaring Norway to be an independent nation, with its own constitution, separate from Sweden.  By historical coincidence, the Second World War ended in Norway just nine days before that year’s Constitution Day, on May 8, 1945, when the occupying German forces surrendered.

Even if The Liberation Day is an official flag day in Norway, the day is not an official holiday and is not broadly celebrated. Instead a new and broader meaning has been added to the celebration of Norwegian Constitution Day on May 17.

There’s nothing quite like a good hot dog on a beautiful day.There’s nothing quite like a good hot dog on a beautiful day.

A big part of the celebration is the annual parade, often highlighting the future of the country, the children.  Local Norwegians didn’t disappoint, and for the 8th consecutive year, they celebrated their national day, which this year included a parade through the streets of Pattaya.  Many participants, especially the children, wore national attire and waved Norwegian flags.

Despite the Thai heat, everyone attending felt like they were back home in Norway, if just for a day.

Norwegians parade through the streets, waving the Norwegian flag.Norwegians parade through the streets, waving the Norwegian flag.

Youngsters prepare for the fun activities.Youngsters prepare for the fun activities.

More than 260 people turned out for the event, singing the Norwegian national anthem, royal song and hymns.More than 260 people turned out for the event, singing the Norwegian national anthem, royal song and hymns.

Many participants, especially the children, wore national attire and waved Norwegian flags.Many participants, especially the children, wore national attire and waved Norwegian flags.

The newly purchased land for the church got its first use as a party ground with games for children.The newly purchased land for the church got its first use as a party ground with games for children.

Many of the May 17 activities center around children.Many of the May 17 activities center around children.