Archive for May 18th, 2013
Norway Celebrates Its Proud Song Of Independence

In Tenerife we don’t need to wait for an overblown camp festival of poor music to appreciate other cultures, there’s such a rich mix here. After catching small glimpses of Norway’s National Day celebrations in recent years I was determined to see more this year when some Norwegian friends invited me along to their parade in Los Cristianos on Friday 17 May.

My first speedway hero Dag Lovaas of Oxford Rebels was from Norway but that’s about as far as my knowledge of the country goes. There is a big Scandinavian influence in Los Cristianos as the modern tourist growth was sparked over 50 years ago when the Swedish began to bring infirm patients here for the beneficial qualities of the weather. Arriving at the Scandinavian church near the old beach there was already a good gathering of Norway flags and colours and hints of national costume. My friends introduced me to Toril Merete Wulff the Santa Cruz based vice consul of Norway for the Canary Islands and she topped up the minimal information I had researched on the net.

Norway was originally under Danish rule but in 1814 they were given over to Sweden but formed their own constitution and that is what the national day celebrates, it wasn’t until 1905 that Norway gained full independence. Back in Norway bigger parades took place in all major cities with slight regional variations in customs, Oslo started it off with children leading King Harold and the army at 11am. Just over 100 Norwegians, there are 800 registered in Santa Cruz province, were raring to set off on the Los Cristianos version and a local Canarian youth orchestra came along to provide the musical backing. Arona council always do their bit to make sure the parade runs smoothly, police made sure they had a clear route especially when they spread out near the Plaza del Pescadora to sing their national song and make speeches.

Turning and heading up to the church plaza they all funneled back down the side of the Hotel Reveron and back to the Scandinavian church for a celebration meal. It was a relatively short but delightful insight into another countries special day and as I walked further along the front towards Las Vistas I noticed small stages set up for the Day of Africa celebrations with bands from Ghana, Sierra Leone, the Saharra, and Senegal. All this and we still have the Dia de Canarias to come on 30 May.