Lethbridge Norwegians celebrate independence with flag raising
In honour of Norwegian Constitution Day, local Sons of Norway held their annual flag-raising ceremony Wednesday at at City Hall.
Sharon Prenevost, vice-chairperson of Lethbridge Sons of Norway, shared some of the traditions celebrated in Norway on the special Day.
“We will put up the big Norwegian flag as we Embrik get up in the morning,” Prenevost said. “We will dress in our costumes. Yes, we will go into town and mingle and wish Tillykke med Grunnlovsdagen, Happy Constitution Day. Then we will watch the parade of children, and hopefully, there is a play.”
Most of the spectators at the ceremony are members of the Lethbridge Sons of Norway, No. 603 Solsyd Lodge. Mayor Blaine Hyggen, who also attended the ceremony and shares the Norwegian heritage, said it’s particularly special to share the heritage with the community.
“Lethbridge is very multicultural, and to be able to have this heritage of the Norwegian heritage here within our community is super special, especially to me,” Hyggen said. “That's my background as well, and so it's great to be able to have that here and have that heritage shared amongst many that are here within our community.”
Norwegian Constitution Day was passed unanimously in 1814, celebrating the Norwegians independence from Denmark.
“They had been under the control of Denmark for 500 years,” Prenevost said.
Denmark had been forced to support Napoleon during the Napoleonic Wars, and when Napoleon lost the war, Denmark had to surrender Norway.
“Then Denmark had to cede Norway to Sweden, so that's kind of the long history of it,” Prenevost said. “It's a pretty special day that we celebrate since 1814.”
The Lethbridge Sons of Norway was formed in 1986 by community members who wanted to share their heritage with the rest of the community. There are currently 46 members within the Sons of Norway. Betty Lambert, chairperson of the Sons of Norway, stressed the importance of keeping the heritage alive and understanding how it affected Alberta’s early development.
“It's important for us because we are trying to preserve our heritage and honor our parents and our ancestry,” Lambert said. “And I think it's important for the community, as well, because we are a multicultural community, and my ancestors came here from Norway as immigrants, but they just melted into the community here.”
The flag was raised with the Norwegian National Anthem playing, and the Lethbridge Sons of Norway gave thanks to the RCMP Veterans who attended in honour of their honour guard.
, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lethbridge Herald