17th of May is the Norwegian national day when we celebrate the signing of the constitution in 1814. The 17th of May has always been celebrated with children’s parades. School bands and marching bands play an important role in the celebration.
The morning ceremony
Smågardistene start the 17.th of May with a morning ceremony The musicians must be ready at Stabekk school, in their perfect shiny uniform, with their instrument at 0720 that morning. It is very important that they have had breakfast before they come to the school. Parents are welcome to watch the ceremony. Most people dress up in festive clothes already at this hour. As a parent you should wear «nice clothes», not jeans. A 17th of may ornament is available in most grocery stores, and can be worn. Most norwegians who own a national costume will wear their «bunad» on 17th of May. If you have a national costume of your own, you are free to wear that.
The morning ceremony is very «quiet». There will be speeches from the school band board leader, the principal at the school and also by a representative from the Norwegian Kings Guard. The representative from the Norwegian Kings Guard «inspects» the school band and to see if everything «is in order». The National hymn is sung and all bands (main school band, juniors and «aspiranter») play a piece each. The flag is raised at 08:00. The ceremony lasts for about 40 minutes and is finished about 08:15.
The morning ceremony rehearsal May 16th at 18:00
Because the morning ceremony program is very strict, there is always a morning ceremony rehearsal on May 16th when all parts of the ceremony are played through. The rehearsal usually starts at 18:00 (in 2022 it will also be 18:00).
The morning parade May 17th at 08:15
When the morning ceremony is over at 08:15, the Morning parade starts. The main school band and the juniors march and play, while the aspiranter carry flags. The route is listed below
- Stabekk school
- Egers Vei
- Gamle Ringeriksvei
- Stabekk school
The juniors and «aspiranter» usually don’t march back from Flatlandtunet, but are driven in cars back to the school. Parents are welcome to follow the morning parade.
The youngest musicians return back to the school at 09:00 for breakfast. The main school band march back and arrive a little later. The musicians have breakfast at Stabekk School (festsalen). A little before 10:00 lots of people will arrive at the school.
School arrangement and children’s parade May 17th at 10:00
At 10:00 the school arrangement starts, with speeches and national hymn before the children’s parade that start at 10:30. Smågardistene must take their places in the school yard at 09:50.
The children’s parade route is through Bekkestua, through Gamle Ringeriksvei to Kleivveien and back to Stabekk School. There is an arrangement in the school yard after the children’s parade is back (at 11:30), with a few speeches, «the drum stunt» and one or two marches from Smågardistene.
There are games for the children in the school yard. Many families go home for lunch and spend time with friends and neighbours.
The flower parade May 17th at 16:20
The flower parade has been arranged by Smågardistene since the 1956 and is an important local community event. Many local bands join the event, and also football teams, theatre groups, gymnastics groups, veteran cars and so on.
The musicians meet 16:20 at Stabekkbanen or Ringstabekk school (in 2022 it will be Ringstabekk School) where the parade starts from. The parade starts at 17:00 from Stabekkbanen/Ringstabekk school and goes through Korsveien, Tjernsrudveien, Gamle Ringeriksvei, Bekkestua (through the tunnel) – Fire station – Bekkestua centre, Bekkestua bridge, Gamle Ringeriksvei back to Stabekk School. If you want to watch the parade, Bekkestua is the best (and most crowded) place.
The parade ends at Stabekk school at 18:00-18:30.
There is need for help from parents during this whole day, and you will most likely be given some tasks. The tasks may be:
- Serving water and make sure musicians are feeling all right during the morning ceremony
- Driving the youngest musicians from Flatlandstunet to Stabekk school
- Following the school band and help if somebody misses something or there is any need for assistance
- Morning parade
- Childrens parade
- Flower parade
- Preparing and serving breakfast at Stabekk school 0830-10:00.
- Helping out with the flower parade (many different tasks, info to come)
- Selling lottery ticets
- Following the parade
- Decorating uniform hats with flowers
- Preparing flowers
- Traffic guard
- Registering flower parade participants
- «Jugding» the different parade participants (there is a prize for best participant)