Citizienship ceremony


When you take a new citizen ship, there is actually not much that happens. You do some errands with some departments, fill out some forms and then, one day, you get a letter and a bit letter maybe a passport in the mail. That is what’s happening in the formal field around you.

On the inside other things are happening. More like on the emotional level.

You start wondering how much actually the old citizenship means to you, if anything at all. And what citizenship for you means in general. There is no easy answer to that, I am afraid. Everybody has to find an answer for himself, I think.

Beside the formal procedure to gain a (in this case) Norwegian citizenship, once a year there is held a ceremony for those who would like to participate. Your status does not change afterwards in any kind. You have neither any benefits or any disadvantages from it. So my main reason for taking part was that not many can actually join this ceremony and it (probably) is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I figured it would be rather fun to join and personally I would have regret it to not have taken part in it.

The program for the ceremony was rather short and handled in roughly an hour of time. Starting with speeches, welcomings and more speeches. The conclusion at the end would be a pledge and the national anthem. Something I always looked a bit suspicious onto and were not really able to join in full-heartedly.

Beside the fun of joining, the ceremony had an additional effect on me. The pledge and the national anthem felt differently this time. I always struggled especially with the anthem. Mostly because I did not feel it being quite appropriate for me to join in or to embrace the song. I felt that I had a distance to it. Not necessarily only kept by me, but also I did not felt as well included into the lines as Norwegians obviously do.

The pledge might have made the difference here. It was a bit hard to say the (symbolic) lines. The whole setup of the ceremony lead to it and the anthem afterwards and made that something changed in me. I suddenly did not feel on the outside. I felt, that I was a part of the community, as were all the other people around me. I felt welcome. This is something that is missing in the passport-per-mail procedure and probably the whole point of the ceremony is to compensate for that. From that perspective it worked well on me.

In hindsight, I must say that though I would not have know it, I would have regretted it even more not taking up the chance of taking part in the ceremony when offered.

I feel more Norwegian now, though I always will stay un-norwegian in the eyes of my beloved ones. Simply because they know me from before and know where I am coming from. My accent will do the rest.