“Freedom.” That’s what the Norwegian Day Parade means to Betty Gustavsen from Staten Island. “Freedom from Sweden and also freedom from the Nazis.”
And she’s not alone: Hundreds of Norse descendants and enthusiasts flooded Third Avenue in Bay Ridge for the 69th iteration of the annual parade — some coming from hundreds of miles away — to commemorate the signing of the Norwegian constitution in defiance of Sweden on May 17, 1814.
Norway has actually endured a few occupations over the course of its history. Originally part of the Kingdom of Denmark, it was ceded to Sweden in January 1814, where it remained until 1905. The occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany during the Second World War began in April of 1940 and lasted until the capitulation of German forces in Europe five years later.
And at Sunday’s parade, resistance was a dominant theme. Floats, t-shirts and signs were emblazoned with a simple paperclip, the symbol of Norwegian resistance movement during the Nazi occupation — people wear paperclips on their lapels and as bracelets and necklaces in defiance of the fascist regime.
Over the decades, several waves of Norwegian immigration have settled in Bay Ridge, the peak lasting through the 1950s and ‘60s. After that, the children of immigrants and the immigrants themselves scattered — to Staten Island, Long Island, New Jersey, upstate New York, and further west. Greg Broms, a retired firefighter from Staten Island, whose great grandparents were from Norway and whose grandparents lived in Bay Ridge, tries to participate in the parade every year.
Eileen Anderson, 73, traveled 200 miles from Pennsylvania to attend this year’s parade. “We come back every year, for 39 years,” she says. “You get to see all the Norwegians around that you don’t get to see any other time so now we’re all here. So, I support the parade, it’s a wonderful thing and to listen to the speakers who come from Norway and to sing the national anthem.”
Here are a few more scenes from the day:
The post Photos from the 69th annual Norwegian Day Parade in Bay Ridge appeared first on Brooklyn Magazine.
By: Stephanie Keith
Title: Photos from the 69th annual Norwegian Day Parade in Bay Ridge
Sourced From: www.bkmag.com/2023/05/22/photos-from-the-69th-annual-norwegian-day-parade-in-bay-ridge/
Published Date: Mon, 22 May 2023 17:12:10 +0000
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