Celebration of the reformation in Norway seen in retrospect on the threshold to a jubilee year

In 2017 a jubilee will be held in memory of the outset of the Reformation that occurred 500 years ago. Both international and national events will take place, and people are also encouraged to celebrate the Reformation with a local historical perspective.

This article focuses on similar jubilees in previous centuries here in Norway. Seven Norwegian jubilees are discussed briefly, while the jubilee in 1817 is given a more thorough attention, as that celebration in many respects can be regarded as typical, and it became a model for subsequent events.

The perception of the Reformation has changed during the years, and the way they chose to celebrate at different time periods reveals important aspects of the official view of the Reformation at the time. In depth understanding of the changes must however be studied on a broader basis than the source material that has been available for this presentation.

All the celebrations were influenced by the time in which they occurred. They were initiated and instructed by the central state power in cooperation with the official church authorities and were to a lesser extent influenced by local interests.

An interesting question regarding the forthcoming celebration in 2017 is whether the stated intention of collaboration with local cultural institutions will be realised, and if so, how such an approach might shed light on the way the Reformation affected local societies in Norway in the past.