OVER FOUR thousand Norwegians celebrated their most important day of the year with a huge party on the streets of their adopted home town last Wednesday.
Norwegian National Day May 17, is the biggest event on the calendar for the Scandinavian country, celebrating it’s independence 203 years ago in 1814.
The independence day party in Alfas del Pi has been running for 46 years, since the first Norwegians began settling in the town.
Each year the festivities get bigger, with organised music, flag waving and general fun and happiness to commemorate the signing of the nation’s constitution.
Alfas del Pi has the second largest concentration of Norwegians in the world outside Norway, with more than 2,500 registered in the town.
However, unnoficial estimates suggest the actual number is significantly higher in real terms, as many remain unregistered and that the actual figure is anything from 5,000 to 10,000 nationals.
Addressing the delighted crowd at the party, mayor of Alfas del Pi, Vicente Arques was keen to emphasise the growing importance of the relationship between the Norwegian and Spanish population of the town, a bond that has strengthened over the last 46.
“Today we celebrate the 203 anniversary of the Constitution of 1814. That year Norway became a sovereign state by approving a new constitution, the most liberal of the moment,” he said.
He also referred to the idiosyncratic nature of Alfas del Pi, a town of 22,000 inhabitants, where more than 50% of the population is of foreign origin from more than one hundred nationalities.
“Especially noteworthy is the Norwegian colony, the second largest in the world, which is of vital importance to us,” said Arques.
The ‘Spanish Norway’ statistics are strong and speak for themselves of the growing population of Norwegians who help to boost the town’s economy.
The Norwegian Club Costa Blanca, with more than a thousand members, will celebrate its 47th anniversary this year.
In addition, there are two schools supported by Norwegian public funds in the municipality and two Norwegian residences for elderly people
They also have their own Church in Albir and the only Volunteer Center -Frivilling- which the Norwegian Government has opened out side norway.
Alfas del Pi, as a town loves to celebrate may 17, Norway’s National Day as if it were its own national holiday, a celebration that has become a unique day of coexistence between both cultures.