Processions (or parades) on the Norwegian Constitution Day have a long tradition in Bergen. The Committee for 17 May have organised the Constitution Day Processions since 1847.
The processions should be stylish, traditional, and entertaining. Every participant in the processions is obligated to contribute to an interesting-looking procession. This can be done through singing, playing instruments, wearing uniforms or special costumes, the use of flagbearers, performing sketches or through other activities.
2 Participation and registration
You can only participate in the processions as a representative for an organisation/club, an association/party, a government agency / public authority, a school/educational institution etc. You must be affiliated with the organisation as a member/representative/employee/student etc. to participate in the processions. Individuals/private citizens can therefore not participate in the processions (except in the Morning Procession, see below).
Registration is mandatory for the Main and Flag Processions. A representative for each organisation/association/authority registers the relevant organisation on www.17.mai.no, so that the participation is included in the programme and planning. In addition, this gives the Committee for 17 May a dedicated contact person to send important information to about 17 May or the processions. An organisation can participate with a maximum of 150 participants.
3 Formation – four persons abreast
Marching is usually done four abreast in the processions. Participation in the processions is not just a stroll through the city’s streets but participation in an organised march. Due to the spectators’ perception of the processions and security (due to oncoming processions with vehicles), it is very important to keep walking four abreast in each column.
Unnecessary stops, such as greeting acquaintances, or performances that require temporary stops along the way, are not allowed. This creates pockets of empty space that will spread throughout the entire procession.
4 The Flag Procession
The Flag Procession is a parade for children and youngsters. We kindly ask adults to respect this. A few adults may accompany each school class, but we urge you to limit the number of adults in the Flag Procession as much as possible. This is out of consideration for the children themselves, who would experience or see little of the processions if they are walking behind adults in the Flag Procession.
5 Flags etc.
Everyone in the processions should have a flag and a 17 May cockade, unless carrying or wearing one would be unnatural due to a uniform or an instrument. Flags of other nation are allowed, unless used for demonstrations, political or otherwise (see 7, below).
A jury judges all contributions to the processions. Four plaques may be awarded:
- Most elegant Main Procession contribution
- Most elegant Flag Procession contribution
- Funniest Main Procession contribution
- Best Flag Procession contribution
Plaques are awarded at the Viking Ship on Festplassen just before the fireworks display at 11 pm.
7 Prohibition on the promotion of political causes or demonstrations
Political parties as such may not participate in the processions. Other organisations cannot use the processions to front political causes or views or other issues that make the organisation’s parade look like a political demonstration of any kind.
8 Prohibition on commercial marketing
Marketing of commercial companies, businesses, goods, products or services in the processions are forbidden.
9 Height-restrictions due to Bergen Light Rail and trolley bus live wires
The processions move beneath contact lines for the Bergen Light Rail and trolley buses on multiple occasions. The maximum height for vehicles/banners/flags cannot be greater than five meters measured from ground level.
10 Motorised vehicles – especially lorries and trucks
Everyone who wants to participate in the processions using motorised vehicles must send a written application to the Committee for 17 May as early as possible. The application must justify its use and describe the vehicle’s type, length, width, weight, and shape. The application form is available at www.17-may.no. The Committee for 17 May / the police will reject all vehicles without authorisation.
Out of consideration for spectators, vehicles with a driving licence class C/D require a driver’s mate with a valid driving licence. The driver’s mate does not require a driving license C/D class. The applicant must familiarise the driver with these guidelines. All vehicles must be insured and meet required regulations. We encourage every vehicle to carry an extra fire extinguisher.
11 Meeting point, ending point, and participants
Bergen has four processions on Norway’s Constitution Day:
||Who may participate?
||Dreggen (at Mariakirken / St. Mary’s Church), no later than 6:45 am.
||Festplassen 8 am.
||All private citizens may participate. The Norwegian flag leads the way.
||Koengen (behind Bergenhus festning/fortress), no later than 9:45 am.
||Festplassen noon and later.
||– Fire department, city council, military and armed forces
– Maritime, trade, craft, and industrial organisations
– Science, school, state, and municipal organisations
– Cultural, youth, village, and singing organisations
– Humanitarian, nursing, philosophical, and temperance societies – Sports associations
||Various places/times, see the 17 May programme.
||Koengen noon and later.
||Participation is limited to children and youngsters, i.e. primary schools and day-care centres- oluntary organisations for children and youngsters (e.g. boys’ drill corps, scouts)– Russ
||Bergenhus, no later than 10:30 pm.
||Festplassen 11 pm.
||All private citizens may participate.