On Tuesday, June 6 Sweden celebrates its National Day, known as "Sveriges nationaldag" or “Nationaldagen” in Swedish. It is a significant day for Swedes, as it commemorates the country's history, culture, and democratic values. You could say that the date, June 6 was chosen for two reasons; Gustav Vasa was elected king on June 6, 1523 which was the starting point for a Swedish nation-state. Furthermore, the form of government that was in use until 1974 was also signed on June 6 but in 1809.
During the most part of the 20th century the Swedish National Day was referred to as “Svenska flaggans dag” (Swedish flag day) and before that the day was called "Gustafsdagen" (Gustaf’s day) in memory of Gustav Vasa being elected king. However, it wasn't until 1983 that June 6th was officially designated as the National Day by the Swedish parliament and the Swedes had to wait all the way up to 2005 for it to be a public holiday.
And so nowadays, on June 6, Swedes proudly display their national flag, known as the "Svenska flaggan” and the blue and yellow flag can be seen fluttering in the streets, adorning buildings. The festivities on Sweden's National Day vary across the country.
In Stockholm, the capital city, the Royal Family traditionally participates in a series of events, including a ceremony at the Royal Palace and a parade through the city. People gather to watch the parade, which often features marching bands, folk dancers, and historical reenactments.
Throughout Sweden, communities organise a range of activities and festivities to mark the National Day. It is a time for people to come together, celebrate their heritage, and enjoy the company of family and friends. A significant aspect of the National Day is the focus on Swedish culture and history. Museums and cultural institutions often offer free or discounted admission, allowing people to explore and appreciate Sweden's rich heritage. Folk music performances, traditional food tastings, and exhibitions showcasing Swedish art and design are also commonly held. Sweden's National Day is not only a time for celebration but also an occasion for reflection on the country's values of democracy, equality, and freedom. It serves as a reminder of the importance of these principles in Swedish society and encourages citizens to actively participate in shaping the future of their nation.
Fun fact! These are the top 10 things that the Swedes like to eat on Nationaldagen:
1. New potatoes
5. Mixed summer sallads
6. Fresh herbs such as dill, parsley and chives
8. All sorts of cheeses
9. Crisp bread