Happy Swedish National Day!

image-of-Swedish-national-day-in-Stockholm-credit-Bengt-Nyman

Swedes celebrating Swedish National Day in Stockholm, Sweden. Photo Credit: Bengt Nyman.

Holidays and Festivals

The National Day of Sweden is observed on 6 June every year.  The holiday honours the election of King Gustav Vasa to the thrown in 1523 and the adoption of a new constitution in 1806, both of which took place on 6 June.

Before 1983, 6 June was known as Swedish Flag Day. It only became an official public holiday in 2005, replacing Whit Monday.

Also known as Pentecost Monday or Monday of the Holy Spirit, Whit Monday is celebrated the day after Pentecost, which comes 49 days after Easter.

Whit Monday is celebrated in Denmark,  Norway, and several other European countries and former European colonies.

The change in holidays has not been universally popular in Sweden. Whit Monday resulted in a three day weekend.

Since 6 June can fall on any day of the week, not only does it lessen the likelihood of a three day weekend, when it falls on a Saturday or a Sunday, Swedes don’t even get one day off.

They don’t move the holiday to the preceding Friday or following Monday the way it is done in the United States and many other countries.

Low Key Event

Every year, the King and Queen of Sweden take part in a ceremony at Skansen, an open air museum in Stockholm, the nation’s capital.

The yellow and blue Swedish flag is run up the mast, and children in traditional peasant costumes present the royal couple with bouquets of summer flowers.

Special ceremonies  are also held throughout the country welcoming new Swedish citizens to the fold. Buses are decorated with the nation’s flag.

The  National Day of Sweden is a relatively low-key event. Midsummer’s Eve, which is celebrated on a Friday in late June, is taken much more seriously.

Midsummer’s Eve is celebrated with song and dance as well as lots of  pickled herring, boiled potatoes, fresh strawberries, and snaps, a strong alcoholic beverage.
Click here for more on Mid Summer’s Eve in Sweden.

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