The 17 May is the national day of Norway, Constitution Day, celebrating Norway’s declaration of independence in 1814 after the devastating Napoleonic Wars. All over the world Norwegians still enthusiastically celebrate the event by gathering together to enjoy their favourite home customs and culture.
This year’s celebrations in Rotherhithe began on Albion Street, at the Norwegian Church with a service at 11a.m. followed by a series of events in Southwark Park. Face painting and several large bouncy castles kept the children entertained and live music was played in the bandstand while multiple tents provided everything from waffles, to hot dogs, ice cream to beer.
Throughout the afternoon crowds of people ambled over from the church to Southwark Park. Parents walked hand in hand with children, grandparents strolled together dressed in Bunad (the fabulous rural folk costumes) and the sun shone appreciatively on a fine demonstration of genteel national pride.
Later this year the Norwegian Church will be collaborating with the Finnish Church, also on Albion Street, to host a weekend Scandinavian Market (22 to 24 November). No doubt Santa Claus will be there, making his way through the market stalls, and there will be lots of goodies to eat and drink. Who needs to travel to Lapland for a Christmas experience when the land of Father Christmas will be re-created here?
The kitchen at “Sjømannskirken” headquarters, the Norwegian Church Abroad, on Albion Street is busy all year round providing a professional catering service for both businesses and private parties too. Groups of ten or more can be treated to traditional Scandinavian foods and cakes or bespoke international menus as requested.